2009/11/10

The House health care bill and reproductive choice

Huzzah! The House of Representative passed a reasonably decent health care bill. Now it's on to the Senate, where simply avoiding a filibuster is the major problem.

Major problem with the House's bill, though. Women and their reproductive choice got "thrown under the bus" so that the Democrats could get the bill passed. As Jane Hamsher explains (And yes, her language is a bit raw in this piece, but her anger is clearly justified), NARAL and Planned Parenthood were informed on July 1st that Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his merry band of anti-abortionists wanted the health care bill to explicitly exclude coverage for reproductive choice. When the day came that the House could either pass the health care bill with the poison pill of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment or watch several months worth of work go down the drain, NARAL and PP had nothing in the works, nothing had been planned or positioned in advance, no money had been saved up, no lobbying had been done.

Well, will PP and NARAL at least "score the bill", i.e., will they make voting for the bill as it's currently written an offense sufficient to cause a Congressperson to be "downgraded" and denied reelection help?

Wel-l-l-l, er, um, no.

Is it a good idea for Democrats to toss aside the female, single, childless demographic?

No actually, that would be utterly suicidal. That would guarantee that Democrats would lose the 2010 midterms and that Obama would be a one-term President.

As to the plan of using all 60 Senators in the Democratic caucus to overcome a filibuster... Nuh-uh. Ain't gonna happen. The choices are stark. The Democrats can use the reconciliation process to get around the inevitable filibuster, or they can compromise the bill so much that it won't be worth passing. It'll be the Stupak problem all over again.

America can get a good health care bill, but we're coming down to the crunch time where we learn whether or not it will be a bill worth passing.

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