Lets, Not, Make a Deal

Sunday, March 21, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

No one seems to know where Stupak’s head it is at from moment to moment. A facebook friend of mine just sent me a twitter from CNN that reads:

Urgent — Rep. Stupak to CNN producer Lesa Jansen: “I’m still a no…There is no deal yet. Its a work in progress.”

Any “deal” that is acceptable to the radical pro-abortion bloc of Democrats that have threatened to vote “no” on the bill if substantial pro-life guarantees are included is not good enough.

If Stupak agrees to this absurd idea of an executive order, he will set back the cause of pro-life Democrats and disappoint the millions of pro-life Americans who, many for the first time ever, really believed that a pro-life Democrat could accomplish something in Washington.

Update: It’s 1:10 here in CA, and I just heard it from Stupak’s mouth on CSPAN – he’s made the deal. Obamacare will pass. May God have mercy on our souls!

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Health Care Reform and the Great Switch

Sunday, February 28, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

Personally, I thinks it’s fairly likely at this point, that one of the current “health care reform” bills will become law. However, though I come to this with characteristic lateness (increasing busy-ness seems to make topical blogging near impossible) I think it’s worth spending a moment on one of the fascinating contradictions which has gone mainly unremarked in the whole debate.

One of the primary arguments put forward by advocates of health care reform over the last 2-3 years has been, essentially, that health insurance companies are evil. People froth at the industry term of “medical losses” for when insurance companies pay out for medical expenses. (Something which, in fact, happens with over 80% of the monies collected in the form of insurance premiums.) Others rail against how the profit motive has destroyed health care and driven costs to astronomical levels — apparently oblivious to the fact that there are several major not-for-profit insurers, and they don’t provide care any more cheaply than for-profit ones. And yet, despite these and many other rhetorical assaults on the whole idea of health insurance as a commercial product, the centerpiece of the proposed health care reform bills was to legally require everyone in the US to purchase health care insurance, and then provide government subsidies for those who couldn’t afford the premiums. (Thus “shoveling” government money into the insurance industry in the same way in which Medicare Part-D, which all good progressives are now against, did with the pharmaceutical industry.)

Why in the world did a movement which had so long railed against private insurance suddenly decide to require and subsidize it, rather than pushing for the government or non-profit approaches to health provision which had so long appealed to it?
Read the rest of this entry »


Poll Shows Americans Would Like to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

The Washington Post has a new poll out which will please both political parties, since the American people in the main agree with both of them. A majority of people want Congress to scrap the current Health Care Reform bills, and a majority also think Obama has done a bad job of handling the health care issue. Yet a majority also want Health Care Reform passed this year and blame Republicans for lack of progress.

Solid majorities think that the current HCR bills are too complex and too expensive, but majorities also approve of the main components: require employers to provide insurance, require people without insurance to buy it, subsidize people who can’t afford insurance, and require insurance companies to give everyone insurance regardless of their medical histories or problems. So basically, people would love the bill as is, so long as it didn’t cost anything and wasn’t complex.

And in the results most likely to give legislators pause: People say they’re looking for new candidates of incumbents in the next congressional election by a 56 to 36 majority. 71% of people disapprove of how congress is doing its job. And of the 62% of the population that has private insurance (15% have MediCare, 3% have Medicaid and 17% have no insurance) 74% trust their insurance companies to do a “good” or “great” job of processing their claims fairly.

If people like the idea of health care reform, but don’t want it to cost anything or be complex, while distrusting congress and trusting their insurance companies, it sounds to me like nothing is likely to happen on the health care front this year.


Bart Stupak: Senate Bill Dead on Arrival

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

A number of years ago, Gov. Robert Casey warned that health care reform legislation that included public financing of abortion would be “dead on arrival” to Congress. For that very reason as well as several others, the attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system went down in flames.

After the election of now Senator-elect Scott Brown, the Democrats are scrambling to figure out what to do about health care reform and they might have another  pro-life Democrat problem, a Democrat with the spirit of Casey.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) told CNSNews.com “if they expect the House to accept the Senate bill, it’s going to go down in flames.”

CNSNews.com asked Stupak: “Are you prepared to vote for a bill that looks more like the Senate bill – and Senator Nelson’s language on abortion – than the House bill, with your language?” He replied, “No, absolutely not.”

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Health Care Conference

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

It appears that Democratic leadership is going to forgo the customary conference process to reconcile the House and Senate health care reform bills. Instead it will be negotiated between Democratic leaders from both chambers and the Obama administration, to the exclusion of Republican lawmakers.

See the following headlines:

With Few Options, GOP Continues Health Care Fight

Dems intend to bypass GOP on health compromise

Health talks resume with W.H. meet

C-SPAN CEO to Democrats: Televise the Health Care Reform Negotiations


Stupak Pledges to Hold Firm

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

As he comes under increasing pressure from the Obama administration, Congressman Bart Stupak is publicly stating that he and his colleagues in the House will stand firm on pro-life principles and reject any bill that allows public funding of abortion.

At this point I am fairly certain I don’t want the Obama administration to have a thing to do with my health coverage. Nor am I convinced that a bill which leftists, libertarians, and conservatives (do I really need to link anything?) are rejecting and deriding – for different reasons, of course – is really going to end up helping the poor. Whether it is a massive giveaway to insurance companies, an unwelcome and unaffordable expansion of government power and control, or both, I see no compelling reason to support the bill, even without public funding of abortion.

If Stupak is successful and abortion funding is out of the final bill, there are at least 40 House Democrats who have pledged to vote against it (because the right to have the government pay for the murder of one’s own children is more important than insuring the poor, I guess). That will probably kill it. And if he fails, he has hinted that he and at least 10-12 of his colleagues will vote no on the bill, which may be enough to kill it.

So, either way, I say, go Bart go, Godspeed. Because if this monstrosity does get passed, I’d at least like to know that our tax dollars aren’t funding child murder. Pro-life Democrats have demonstrated their ability to influence and even steer the course of national policy. In my view, that is a positive thing no matter what else results.


Political Doublethink…Again.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

The epidemics of amnesia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, self-hypnosis, and intellectual doublethink are on the rise in Washington—rising faster, by the calculation of some spectators, than our national debt.

It goes without question that there are things on record some would prefer to forget or never have mentioned again. Republican lawmakers, influenced by political expediency or historical confusion, presented themselves in the latter part of this year as the champions of Medicare. The glaring absurdity of GOP Medicare scare-tactics somehow passed under the radar of the majority of critics, who most certainly had their eyes fixed on the Democrats.

Just recently Senator Hatch (R-Utah) decided that he would not let the year close without displaying one more case of Republican intellectual doublethink—one so incredible that is absolutely mind-boggling to the habitual political observer who realizes that the GOP is going to ride to victory in 2010 not just on the failures of Democratic leadership, but on the sweeping epidemic of American political amnesia. Read the rest of this entry »