Rejection of Abortion Amendment Threatens Public Option

Senator Ben Nelson’s abortion amendment to the Health Reform bill failed in senate vote of 54  to 45.  Nelson’s amendment sought to restrict the use of federal funds for abortion.  Earlier, Nelson had threatened to filibuster the bill if it did not include his amendment.  As indicated in this politico piece, Nelson did not sound to be in a compromising mood.

With this amendment failing, it sounds like the prospects of a public option with healthcare reform legisilation has been dealt a serious blow. 

What do you bloggers think?  As a certain person some of us know used to say, “does the perfect have to be the enemy of the good?”  Or is this an issue so important that it is a hill worth dying on?  I haven’t made up my mind yet.  Would love to hear from others on this.



Filed under abortion, Healthcare

23 responses to “Rejection of Abortion Amendment Threatens Public Option

  1. Betcha Viagra (and related drugs of other names) will always be covered. Men’s health care needs are important! Women’s not so much, and those that should be considered will be decided by someone else since women can’t be trusted to know what is best for them individually.

  2. This turn of events has been very depressing, but not terribly surprising. The person I quote above (“perfect being the enemy of the good”) desperately wanted the Democratic party to not own the “abortion issue”.

    Nelson is a democrat and from Iowa. Abortion is a big issue in the middle west.

    I sure wish I knew what the most helpful political response to this problem would be.

  3. Enlightenment of the masses who fear someone may get something they don’t deserve seems someplace between elusive and impossible.

  4. PrairiePond

    Hi Iggy–Sorry to nit pick but Ben Nelson is from Nebraska. He is a damn Democrat though….

    The health care bill, as it stands now, isnt going to help many people. It’s been watered down and bastardized to the point that it’s a boondoggle FOR insurance and big pharma, not reform of same. VERY few people will benefit, making it not worth the cost and windfall benefiting corporate welfare whores.

    I like the idea of expanding Medicare, but it may be a Trojan Horse. Medicare is not very financially stable, and cuts in reimbursements to providers happens every year. It’s a real problem for hospitals that serve aging populations almost exclusively.

    There’s talk that even Rahm wants to kill Medicare and Social Security. Continual cutting will do that, particularly with Medicare. It will kill it by starving the providers to death. When the Medicare eligible have no where to go for services, who cares how many are “covered”?

    Such cuts to provider reimbursements are also just shifting the tax burden downward to local governments or taxing districts. Already, rural providers are getting more and more of their funding from local property and sales taxes. Robbing Peter to pay Paul does not health care reform make.

    And given the fundy attacks, successful attacks I might add, on women’s health care and rights to chose, we’re gonna hafta choose a hill to die on to protect further erosion of women’s reproductive rights and choices. And since not dying on this hill will not really produce tangible benefits to the middle and working classes, why not die on this hill?

    If pushing the abortion issue kills this “reform” is it really a big loss?

    Kill the bill and start over. At least when it comes to health care reform and our pocketbooks, people know the difference between results and smoke.

    This is pure smoke.

    • I have inside information into this health care reform debacle. I can tell you that I know for a fact that the hospital industry, the pharmaceutical industry, doctors associations and the medical supply industry are all arm-wrestling behind the scenes to see who gets the biggest cut of the taxpayer grand prize. That is what this bill is all about. There are a very small number of politicians that are actually attempting to put forward amendments for the good of the people. The Democratic party has proven itself on this issue to be as filthy, greedy and corrupt as the republican party.

      I hold no hope that anything good will come of this legislation. I am with PrairiePond–Kill Bill. Start over.

      Won’t happen, though. I think now that it never was about making things better. The hospital industry is desperate to staunch the losses they are suffering from the treatment of the uninsured (and the bad press that goes along with rejecting them). I believe that they have pushed for reform and have had a major voice in just how that reform will benefit them. And the other special interests are just in it to make sure they get their chunk of the pie.

      • Monkeyhawk

        I’m keeping my eyes open for who gets chosen for the conference committee.

        That’s gonna be big-time politics, for better or worse, the heavyweight championship of the world.

        I can put up with some compromises now, balanced by triggers and sunset laws an setting up procedures for dealing with the Law of Unintended Results. But as long as CBO keeps marking the bill as it has, I think the general progressive agenda is still making, well, progress.

        One of the rhetorical devices the Repubic Party has been getting away with is when they talk about “‘cuts’ in Medicare.” The “cuts” are in the Medicare Advantage program, which essentially has taxpayers subsidizing for-profit insurance companies. And after 40 years or more of CONs fighting tooth-and-nail against Medicare, hearing them get away with their current rhetoric makes me feel like a dog eating ice cream: I keep batting my head with my paw wondering where the headache came from.

  5. PrairiePond

    In re-reading, I’m sorry if I wasnt clear. I fear that expanding Medicare coverage, while continuing cuts to it’s budget even as more people flood into the system, is a back door way of killing Medicare, the dream of all free market cons.

    Killing Social Security as the the boomers flood the system will not be far behind.

    After all, we need the money for WAR, dammit!

  6. PrairiePond

    I do think though, that the expansion of Medicare to include those 55 and over is a good thing, and if it’s all we can salvage from this “reform” exercise in futility, we need to grab it and run.

    We just need to be vigilant that it does NOT become a backdoor way to kill the program. I like the idea of expanding the eligibility ages downward each year until we have Medicare for all.

    But if the democrats lose the majority and the white house again in the next few elections, those so called gains will be quickly reversed. Count on it.

  7. PrairiePond

    Sorry to keep rambling here….

    The best way to be vigilant about not killing Medicare is to make sure it is properly funded, even as it is expanded. To do otherwise will surely kill it.

    And us.

  8. The public option is obviously as dead as a doornail. My advice to the progressives is to take what they can get now.

    I don’t know what kind of health care reform will come out of this session, but I strongly suspect it won’t be much. There is, however a silver lining behind this very dark cloud. I am reminded of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve never heard of it, there really isn’t a hell of a lot to remember about it; a mere pittance, really – a scrap of leftovers tossed out to “American Negros” (in the parlance of the age) in order to appease them. But it made the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – the one we remember – all the more easier seven years later.

    We’ll live to fight another day.

    Tom Degan

  9. Hi Tom.

    You’re right that I can’t remember any “Civil Rights Act of 1957.” Worth using ‘the google’ to investigate tho.

    I am at this point still too disappointed to find any rainbow behind this dark cloud. If I thought this was a step in the right direction it would help. For now, I’m still waiting to see what actually becomes reality. Much of what could happen scares the bejessus out of me since I think there are many potential steps backwards quite possible.

  10. I might mention that I’ve quit calling my state Senators and my House Rep. I’m still sending emails, but actually phoning Sam Brownback, Pat Roberts or Todd Tiahrt is more than I can handle. Brings my mood and hope down to a new low.

    • lilacluvr

      Why bother calling them? Isn’t that like pounding your head against a brick wall and then wondering why you have a headache?

      BTW – did you tell them you’re a registered Republican? That should get you extra points.

      • lilacluvr

        Just kidding fellow RINO……LOL

      • Why bother calling them?

        Sorry to disagree, but you are looking at it the wrong way.

        It isn’t “bothering to call” it is “calling to bother.” That is the only reason to ever call these Gopper morons. I know they aren’t going to listen to me or do as I ask, but calling their people makes them have to mark down somewhere the someone called in OPPOSITION to their idiocy. Perhaps we are like gnats to them. Good. Better than being invisible.

      • That is an excellent way to look at it! One I wouldn’t have thought of without you stating it. Thanks!

        Guess I need to step up the calls. 🙂

  11. PrairiePond

    Welcome Tom. I checked out your blog and like your writing. Keep up the good work and keep coming here too!

  12. Thank you so much for the kind words. I will!

    All the best,
    Tom Degan

  13. Zippy

    Tom, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 occurred 4 years before I was born, but it was significant in that (1) it was actually a Civil Rights bill and (2) Lyndon Johnson, that man who won his Senate seat in 1948 supporting segregation, was its chief proponent.

    Something happened.

    But a bill that mandates you get insurance–or else–and doesn’t fix the system, well, I don’t know. I’ve been busy, like most Americans, and unlike the teabag crowd, I don’t like crowing out of flatulent ignorance.

    However, I did send an “inspired” note to the the public option proponents, suggesting a modest proposal–a real, live, filibuster! I suggested an idea previously proposed–send Snickers bars, in bulk—“not going anywhere for a while?”–in solidarity.

    Yeah, that makes binary heads explode! The Republicans are the ones holding up legislation etc.!

    But my point was this: the majority votes are there–Obama and Reid are coddling a handful of a dissidents to get to that magic 60-vote number. The vast majority of Reid’s caucus support a public option, and other sane ideas that are being dealed away.

    Why? Because. . . .they won’t let us stop debate if we don’t!

    Yeahhh. .. .true enough. And you can’t get home at a reasonable hour to your nice warm bed, or–horrors!–even make it back home for the holidays!

    Hey, I sympathize. I really do.

    But back in ye olden days, a “filibuster” meant the opposition would talk and talk and talk and–if the supporters of the legislation really gave a fuck–they would respond in kind. The Senate would remain in session overnight, with a handful of members taking turns, “keeping the flame alive,” so to speak.

    These days, the presumption is, no 60 votes, nothing happens , no matter how serious the issue.

    They aren’t willing to fight for sick and dying people. At least not enough to make their own lives suck for a few days.

    And in the middle of this is Obama, the facilitator, the anal politico who makes deals based on what he can get, but who, as of late, seems almost allergic to stating any position of his own. After speaking forcefully on so much–including health care–in practice we are getting President Rohrschach.

    In short, it’s starting to look a lot like Clinton. And I’m afraid, absent the boldness we saw in his first two months, 2010 will look a lot like 1994.


  14. You make some great points, Zippy. What the hell ever happened to the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

    Tom Degan

  15. PrairiePond

    “After speaking forcefully on so much–including health care–in practice we are getting President Rohrschach.”

    Well said Zippy.

    May I quote Wanda again?

    “Mr. President. Remember ‘yes we can’? Well, I wish you would!”

    God I love that woman…

  16. PrairiePond

    “In short, it’s starting to look a lot like Clinton. And I’m afraid, absent the boldness we saw in his first two months, 2010 will look a lot like 1994.


    I couldnt have said that better myself!