Tag Archives: Nancy Pelosi

Will Abortion KIll Healthcare Reform?

And to think all this time I thought the public option was the most controversial element of reform. Silly Me! Some lawmakers managed to convince House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to include an amendment in the House bill barring the use of federal subsidies to pay for insurance that covers elective abortion. That means only in the case of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother could such subsidies be used. Needless to say, while enough lawmakers found this acceptable to get the bill passed in the House, some were furious.

You know what? They’ve got a right to be mad. This amendment, a bone to moderate Democratic House members, makes abortion available only to those who can afford it. It is a backhanded way of telling poor women that a group of lawmakers, most of them men, still want to be able to tell them what to do with their bodies. That the Speaker of the House is a woman is tragically ironic, but no excuse. Neither is the political expediency that this “deal” represents.

Now the same debate is about to begin in the Senate. One Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, has already said he won’t vote for the bill unless the Senate version is as restrictive as that passed by the House. Who needs Republicans when you’ve got guys like this? Senate Republicans, by the way, wouldn’t vote for this bill if it restricted abortion, banned any care for illegal immigrants, and eliminated the public option. They’re simply the Part of No, meaning if Democrats crafted it, they can’t vote for it.

President Obama, to his credit, wants the House language on abortion eliminated from the final bill. He’s right when he says it’s a healthcare bill, not an abortion bill. Yet the House amendment presents the clearest gauntlet thrown down yet by so-called moderate Democrats. They presented Pelosi with an all or nothing at all scenario, leading a number of progressive Democrats to threaten a scenario of their own.

It all boils down to a couple of simple questions. Is the prospect of insuring 36 million Americans worth forcing some women to give up their right to choose? Will moderate Senate Democrats, if Majority Leader Harry Reid caves on abortion, then go after the public option? Where exactly do folks draw the line? When does the unpalatable become unacceptable? Keep in mind that unlike Nancy Pelosi, Reid opposes a woman’s right to choose.

Looks like it’s cards on the table time. But who will blink first? You tell me.

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Are You Sick of the Debate Over the Public Option?

I was hoping not to have to write about this anymore, but, quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of the vacillating, equivocal maneuvering on the public option. And that’s from lawmakers we believe to be our friends, including the current occupant of the White House.

There are published reports that President Obama is more interested in the politics of the public option than actually getting a strong one done.

If it’s true, this is hardly change we can believe in. Senator Harry Reid is to be commended for at least trying to get a bill with the public option to the Senate floor.

Senator Harry Reid
Senator Harry Reid

Joe Lieberman, if he’s ready to support a filibuster on any bill containing a public option ought to be summarily stripped of his committee chair, and sent packing to the GOP caucus (that idea comes from my good friend Brent Budowsky). Even the House has caved, somewhat, with Nancy Pelosi now saying she’ll bring a bill to the floor with a public option that’s not pegged to Medicare rates.

Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman

That means not so robust as the one people were talking about just days ago. Then in the Senate there’s talk of opt outs and triggers (reportedly the one the President favors).

And what does all this mean when taken together? OUR LAWMAKERS ARE PUNKS!!!

There’s no other way to put it. And this cowardice is from the TOP DOWN! The public wants the public option (and that may not count people like my and my friend Sanda Aronson who want single payer). Four out of five congressional committees passed bills containing the public option.

So why is Joe Lieberman and his fellow travelers such a large roadblock?

I hate to say this, but it’s the President. Barack Obama thinks he needs bipartisan healthcare reform. He hasn’t sent those people in his administration whose job it is to twist arms to go out and do what they’re paid for. Somebody ought to be saying that the Joe Liebermans of the current Congress aren’t acting in  the best interest of their constituents. They’re pimping Americans with pre-existing conditions for the dollars that come from big insurance and big pharma.

I shouldn’t have to say this. Neither should Brent Budowsky, Ed Schultze, Randi Rhodes, Rachel Maddow or the others who have kept the fight going through all the nonsense the public has been exposed to.

Would these same jackals who bleat about government run health care prefer to leave national security to the bindlestiffs at Blackwater? Oh, sorry, they already did.

Sorry to vent, but I’m sick and tired. How about you?

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Can CBO News Boost the Public Option?

We’ve been hearing for quite awhile now that adding a public option to healthcare reform would break the bank. “More than a trillion dollars!!!” lawmakers screamed. And many of them were Democrats. Now comes word that a preliminary estimate from the Congressional Budget Office puts the cost of a House Democratic bill with a public option at $871 billion.

For those who like to count numbers, that’s less than the $900 billion dollar cap set by President Obama in his address to a joint session of Congress last month. But wait, there’s more good news. The Democrats’ version would also reduce the deficit in the first 10 years. The CBO report is due to drop Wednesday, and its ramifications could be far reaching. It gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi much more ammunition in trying to get a bill with a strong public option through the House.

For reasons best known to themselves, so-called “blue dog” Democrats in the House have been arguing for the lame, government run insurance plan promoted by Republicans in both the House and Senate. Published reports say that plan won’t save as much as the one with the public option. So what will be their excuse now? Speaking of which, when will President Obama get behind the public option, for real?

We’ve said this before. Barack Obama says he favors reform with a public option. Yet he hasn’t put the full weight of his office behind it, and he lets some of his aides equivocate when asked about it. As the late Jim Morrison once opined, “The time for hesitation’s through. No time to wallow in the mire”. Let’s put this bluntly. If President Barack Obama wants to leave a lasting presidential legacy, this is it. Time to get off the dime, Mr. President. The numbers favor you, and those members of the House who have fought hard to provide adequate, affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Let the Rush Limbaughs, the Glenn Becks, the Sean Hannitys do their best. They can’t impugn the integrity of the CBO. They use numbers from the agency when it suits their purpose. Do they really want to cry socialist forever? There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the public option, but it’s not law yet. Those who favor it, and many have been doing yeoman work in their advocacy, need to raise their voices even louder.

And I’m not just talking about well known people. I’m talking about the folks who send healthcare messages in every Facebook post they make, the people who keep it alive on Twitter, the underground majority who get that this is a matter of national pride, and can’t be left to the loud, the selfish, the lawmakers whose votes are bought and paid for.

I, for one, am optimistic the public option will become law. How about you?

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