Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Moving Forward on Health Care

As an observer of the political process as regards health care reform, I'm beginning to see why it's been on the table for so long and hasn't gotten anywhere. Everyone has their pet peeves and issues, which they must interject into the system.
No bill is going to be perfect, and while many of us might want a single payer plan, such a plan isn't going to pass at this time. The majority of Americans want health care reform, they're just not all on the same page as to what that looks like. And thus, whatever legislation that gets passed (assuming that it will pass), must take this into consideration.
Now abortion has gotten into the mix. Perhaps it's because I'm ambivalent about abortion, but I would be upset with liberal Democrats who torpedoed the totality of health care reform over this. To pass this, you have to have conservative/moderate Democrats on board. That means, restrictions on abortion are going to be present. But note, nothing in this prevents abortion, it simply removes it from coverage -- both private/public.
I'm in agreement with E.J. Dionne:

What happens now? Democratic supporters of abortion rights need to accept that their House majority depends on a large cadre of antiabortion colleagues. They can denounce that reality or they can learn to live with it.

There is also a challenge for abortion's foes, above all the Catholic bishops who have a long history of supporting universal coverage but devoted most of their recent energy to the abortion battle. How much muscle will the bishops put behind the broader effort to pass health-care reform? Their credibility as advocates for social justice hangs in the balance.

Democrats have a choice here -- they can follow the path of the Republicans and insist on ideological purity -- if they do this, they will follow them into obscurity. The reason why there are so many independents out there is that moderate Republicans have fled the party. To get anything done, you have to appeal to this body -- which is centrist.
Health care reform is to important to let abortion be the cause of its failure. If that means pleasing Bart Stupak, then that's what will have to be done. Somehow a compromise has to be found. The Catholic Bishops will also have to decide, which is more important -- saving lives through better and more affordable health care or preventing an already declining number of abortions.
Let us, therefore, move forward.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

The Stupak Amendment is probably unconstitutional. It's been illegal to use govt. funds for abortions since 1976, but to prevent PRIVATE funds for them? That's what Stupak does, Bob.

It'll be stripped out in conference.

By my latest whip count, the Senate has 53 votes for passage--but it is unclear if they can keep LIEberman or one of the other conservadems from helping the GOP filibuster.

I think we should fight for single payer after this passes.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...


There will have to be some kind of compromise with Stupak or it won't pass the House on return. If the Senate can override the fillibuster threat, well that would be great -- but something will have to be given to Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins to get this through.

Whether or not the amendment is unconsitutional is moot, if you can't get it out of Congress.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know the Stupak Amendment involved private funds??! I guess someone noted the NRC's insurance program covered elective aboutions. Whoops on them. David Mc

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

One can use one's own funds, but not through an insurance program that gets federal funds, which would include subsidies. I expect that a compromise will be developed that gets us back closer to the status quo.

But to those who think it is better to dump what is coming out of Congress and wait for a "better bill," expect to wait a generation. It has been 16 years since the last attempt. And it was 20 years before that reform was tried.

Anonymous said...

"You can color whatever you want on the wall, I am just not paying for the crayons" - Jesse Helms

If Stupak is unconstitutional, what about paying for health care? The government owns Fannie/Freddie (virtually the entire mortgage market), it owns AIG (all the derivatives), GM (cars), not to mention the $700B in stimulus to stop unemployment from reaching over 7% (ps- its over 10% now). I can't seem to find the area of the constitution that says government must control the economy, major industry, and now health care.

I am all for appropriate limitations - tort reform, portability, can't deny preexisting conditions.. but not to have the government in the health care industry. UGH

Anonymous said...

Hey chuck GM's going to pay the LOAN back faster than Chrysler did. They only lost just over a billion last quarter, so they told Uncle Sam to check the mail next quarter for the first payment. David Mc

Anonymous said...

Great.... lost only a billon. I wasn't a big math major, but losing a billion doesn't seem like a very reliable long term repayment source.