Breaking News: House to vote on Stupak/Pitts anti-abortion amendment

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for breaking.jpgUPDATE, 9:45a: They called our bluff. Now what?

Most of us don't want nationalized healthcare at all, even without abortion coverage. Now that Democrat House leaders have caved and are going to allow a vote whether or not to include abortion (which, by the way, confirms the vehemently denied but obvious: abortion was intended to be covered), what if our amendment passes? Will this clear the way for Obamacare?

No. Public funded abortion has always been a cornerstone of socialized healthcare. If it is excluded, the pro-abort constituency evaporates, both internally (congressional members) and externally (abortion lobby). As of now, House pro-aborts are saying they won't vote for a healthcare plan with an abortion exclusion. Per CNN...

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In a stark illustration of Democratic leaders' bind on this issue, staunch abortion rights supporter Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO [pictured left], emerged from late night talks in Pelosi's office warning that she and others would vote no if leaders agree to ban abortion from the public option....

DeGette said that caucus includes 190 members, and its leaders met Friday and agreed not to support language banning abortion from the public option.

And from The Hill:

The 3 women [Rules]Committee members refrained from voting on the rule that was approved 6-4.

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[Chairwoman Louise] Slaughter [D-NY, pictured right] , Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Chellie Pingree (ME) were not present for the debate on Stupak's amendment....

The agreement was quickly condemned by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which called the amendment by... Stupak a "de facto abortion ban."...

On Friday, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said passing Stupak's legislation could jeopardize passage of the bill, because abortion-rights supporters were likely to vote against a bill that includes it....

UPDATE, 9:12a: I mentioned in my initial comment on this post that Ellsworth must have been thrilled to throw his lot in with Stupak, given the pro-life fallout from his sham pro-life amendment: 'Tis true, according to the Huffington Post:

On Friday, Ellsworth withdrew his compromise language from negotiations, according to several House sources, sending the debate back to the starting line, where Stupak was waiting....

UPDATE, 8:40a: What the Stupak/Pitts amendment actually says

MSM's version, according to the LA TImes...

The amendment, which is expected to pass with the support of Republicans, would prohibit the new government insurance plan - or so-called "public option" - from covering elective abortions.

The amendment would extend a similar prohibition on private insurers that offer plans in new government-regulated insurance exchanges that are the foundation of the Democratic plan to expand coverage.

Pro-aborts are decrying that the private insurance component is a step back. From The Hill today...

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Liberals on the committee threatened to vote against the final healthcare bill if it included Stupak's language, warning that it would be a return to the days of back-alley abortions.

"I forsee a return to the dark ages," said Alcee Hastings (D-FL). "I'm 73, I've seen these dark things, they use these coat hangers and die."

Puleeze. This amendment keeps the status quo. It is identical to the current federal employees' insurance plan, which does not cover abortion. Currently, if a pregnant mother who works for the federal government wants to abort, she can do so with her own money.

Under the Stupak/Pitts amendment any low-income pregnant mother who would get her insurance through the government would have to do to the same. Or if she has a private insurance plan that is subsidized by the federal government, that private company could not pay for her abortion.

UPDATE, 8:10a: How this happened; The players; The plan for today

Here's an email from a House source, sent in the wee hours, that offers an excellent explanation of what's happening...

After a very long day, the House leadership acquiesced to pro-life Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) who have demanded a vote on the pro-life Stupak-Pitts amendment.

The Rules Committee reported a rule that allows for consideration of the Stupak-Pitts amendment which was co-sponsored by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Stupak, Pitts, Kaptur, Dahlkemper, Smith and Lipinski all testified before the House Rules Committee tonight in support of their amendment to address the abortion funding concerns in H.R. 3962.

The amendment maintains the current policy of preventing federal funding for abortion and for benefits packages that include abortion. However, it clarifies that individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, can with their own funds purchase separate supplemental coverage for elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans that do not receive government subsidies may still offer elective abortions.

The rule for consideration of H.R. 3962 was reported tonight and allows for votes on 2 amendments and a motion to recommit. The amendments are the Stupak/Pitts pro-life amendment and the Republican substitute amendment which would implement a government wide permanent ban on abortion funding.

The House will meet tomorrow morning [JLS: today] at 9 am. Votes on non-controversial bills are expected before 10 am. If everything goes as planned, the schedule for tomorrow will be as follows: The House will begin debate on the rule for H.R. 3962 followed by 4 hours of general debate on the bill. Once general debate is completed, the House will debate the Stupak/Pitts amendment for 20 minutes, followed by 1 hour of debate on the Republican substitute. Votes on Stupak/Pitts, the Republican substitute, the motion to recommit and final passage could occur at the same time late in the day. There is also a possibility the debate will carry over into Sunday.

This is a critical pro-life vote, and it will be essential to have groups contacting Members urging them to support the Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment.

7:26a: Email from Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life:

But now, as I write this at 2:41 AM, we've received the news that the Democratic leadership WILL ALLOW A VOTE on the pro-life amendment by Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts!

This is a major victory, as indicated by a CNN news report this morning. Ellsworth must have signed on to the Stupak/Pitts amendment, probably thrilled to do so after the tremendous backlash he got (examples here and here) for his phony pro-life amendment. Incredible that Catholic bishops were directly involved in the deal-making...

Anti-abortion Democrats will be allowed to offer an amendment during the House health care debate Saturday that would ban most abortion coverage from the public option and other insurance providers in the new so-called "exchange" the legislation would create, 3 Democratic sources told CNN.

The prohibition would exclude cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger, known as "Hyde" language.

The hotly anticipated vote on the nearly $1.1 trillion bill by the full House of Representatives is tentatively set for Saturday, but it could be delayed until Sunday. President Obama is expected to visit Capitol Hill on Saturday in hopes of gaining support among Democrats.

House Democratic leadership sources said that, win or lose, they hope giving abortion foes the opportunity to vote will clear the way for passage of their health care bill.

Several anti-abortion Democrats will offer the amendment, including Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-IN, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-MI, who are scoring a major victory in convincing Democratic leaders to allow this vote.

It is also a big win for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which used its power, especially with conservative Democrats in swing congressional districts, to help force Democratic leaders to permit a vote that most of them oppose.

"We didn't have a choice," said a Democratic leadership source. "We didn't have the votes" on health care without agreeing to this.

Planned Parenthood decried the amendment, saying it would result in the elimination of abortion coverage currently offered by most private health insurance plans.

"This amendment would violate the spirit of health care reform, which is meant to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage for all by creating a 2-tiered system that would punish women, particularly those with low and modest incomes," the group said in a statement.

"Women won't stand for legislation that takes away their current benefits and leaves them worse off after health care reform than they are today."

The Democratic sources said people would be able to purchase riders with their own money for insurance that includes abortion coverage.

Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats have argued for a strict abortion ban for some time, but Ellsworth had offered a less strict compromise measure that would have prohibited taxpayer dollars for abortions.

Liz Farrar, a spokeswoman for Ellsworth, told CNN that some 2 dozen Democratic lawmakers made it clear that they needed assurances from the Catholic bishops before they could sign on -- and that the religious group made clear it wanted to bolster the abortion restrictions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders were negotiating with the Catholic bishops and their representatives on Friday.

Late-night marathon talks in the speaker's office included staunch supporters of abortion rights, but they broke down.

"We came to the point where we actually had an agreement tonight, but it fell apart," Stupak said....



YAY!! I am not happy about this bill but this amendment is a possible step forward.

Posted by: Amy Philo at November 7, 2009 7:57 AM

I hate Planned Parenthood's statement, but reading between the lines I see "it would take away 94% of our profit on child killing".

I'm going to pray for this amendment to pass. I don't like C-SPAN, but I think I may turn it on....

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at November 7, 2009 8:00 AM

Planned Parenthood- are you [word] not listening?! This is fear-mongering young women to tell them that it's going to punish them. They'll get prenatal care so stop pretending that this will destroy their souls. They couldn't afford the private insurance in the first place so they always paid the abortions out of pocket.

Good God, will you stop kvetching and accept that no one wants abortion in the bill, Planned Parenthood?

Nothing like idiocy to start your day. Cheers!

Posted by: Vannah at November 7, 2009 8:12 AM

I want that Rep from IL that was on C-SPAN to be defeated next election. She doesn't consider that many americans don't want to pay for abortion! The americans that don't want to pay for abortions would more than likely include post abortive women who regret their abortions.

She doesn't want the amendment to pass because she knows it will make it so elective (UNNECESSARY) are NOT paid for by Americans who object to abortion!

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at November 7, 2009 9:02 AM

What I want to know is, who would buy an elective abortion rider policy? I mean, really... isn't that just saying, "I intend to get pregnant and abort frequently enough that I want insurance for it"...? How many abortions are women getting that the cost of covering this under insurance is worth it??

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 9:09 AM

Is PreNatal care even MENTIONED in Pelosi's bill? If that was covered, how many women would NOT abort because they could afford the doctor's visits during the pregnancy?

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at November 7, 2009 9:16 AM

Actually, prenatal and birth care are not listed as being covered. The fact is, next to nothing is LISTED as being covered aside from abortion! Everything else is being left aside for details to be determined later.

And for those, Ms. Virginia Minnow, who claim that abortion=reproductive healthcare, I shudder to think what their definition of prenatal care would be, anyway.

Given the writings of those advising Obama these days, most likely prenatal care would include mandatory screening for a multitude of prenatal diagnoses, including Down's Syndrome and anencephaly, and a notice given to the parents that due to the costs involved in a government plan, it would be "irresponsible" for government to cover this child should the parents make the "decision" to "allow" it to be born... but they would be happy to pay to abort the baby!

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 10:06 AM

Kill the Bill, with or without the abortion restrictions!

If the inclusion of abortion restriction will Kill the Bill, faster and deader, then include them.

Just Kill the Bill!

Health care is NOT a right, not an entitlement, not a benefit that is mentioned in the United States Constitution.

If you doubt me then, go on line and find me the article in the constitution that says the federal government is granted the authority and/or the responsibility to provide health care to civilians.

The only exception might be where the federal government hasx obilgated itself through a treaty with folks like the indigenous peoples of what is now the United States of America.

If you want the federal government to be responsible for health care, then cowgirl/boy up and ammend the constitution.

Quit whining about not having something you were never promised.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at November 7, 2009 10:19 AM

"It doesn't give us an excuse for tellingpeople who are too sick, too poor or too stupid to have healthcare coverage that bad for them or make them rely on charity."

Nice try, Virginia Minnow, however, those advising Obama, such as Ezekiel Emmanuel, have CLEARLY written that scarce healthcare resources (which will be scarce due to the intentional government monopoly secondary to barriers to competition with the government plan) will be rationed based upon the probable outcomes. Therefore, yes, the plan you are promoting is what will cause the very issue you stated above.

And it is true free market competition (which we do not currently have) which will allow the costs of healthcare to be reigned in to a point of affordability.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 10:42 AM


Lots of things aren't in the Constitution, such as government funding for roads, but we do it anyways. It's just that abortion should not be covered. The things that should be covered are children's healthcare, prenatal care, the birth itself, and anything else that families might need, including anything else that pregnant women might need.

This isn't a matter, Ken, of them being too lazy to earn healthcare: it's a matter of they can't afford it no matter what they do, and it's a known fact that countries with universal health have lower abortion rates, so we can still fight abortion on that front. Then it will, I think, make it easier to make it illegal: pro-choicers argue that it's necessary, we can argue back, no it's not- we have ways to help women (both government programs and non-government programs, depending on the woman/family's personal want).

The U.S., according to my world history teacher, is one of two countries that doesn't provide health to its citizens. I don't remember what the second nation is, but if we can help people out with health, we've done each other a great service. Part of being pro-life means that you believe that people have to take care of each other, so this isn't really anything anti-life, and I have faith in the good of people enough to believe that abortion will be removed.

Posted by: Vannah at November 7, 2009 10:54 AM

Vannah, the problem is that as vaunted as the goal of "providing healthcare for all" sounds, in PRACTICE, it is abysmal. And this bill in particular, is worse than most.

One of the reasons that other countries can "get away with" their socialized medicine programs is because their citizens can come HERE to get lifesaving treatment. Also, because HERE lifesaving treatments are developed, pioneered and perfected... all due to the nature of a competitive market.

Not only will this program lower OUR standard of healthcare, it will lower the standards of healthcare world wide!

Now, there ARE things that we can do to help. Reign in out of control lawsuits. Allow groups to form and pool costs and purchase insurance across state lines. Eliminate waste and fraud. Do those three things and a vast majority of excess costs will simply go away, lower the affordability to where people can get the health care they need.

The fact that many things are being addressed by the Constitution that the federal government has no business being involved in doesn't make THIS right. The fact is, the federal government has EXTREMELY limited areas they should be involved in, according to the U.S. Constitution. Everything NOT enumerated as belonging to them properly belong to the states and the people. Our tax burden would go down immeasurably if state and local issues were returned to the states.

Does that mean that there would be disparities between states? Yes, it does. That is the point. There SHOULD be a difference between living in NY versus living in CA versus living in LA that has more to it than just the weather! There used to be distinctions and "character" to each different state that was a real reason for living there.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:11 AM

Ken writes: "Lots of things aren't in the Constitution, such as government funding for roads, but we do it anyways."

Actually, Article I Section 8 says: "Congress shall have the power to.... to establish post roads..."

On the other hand, we do have the 10th amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution ... are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people." This seems to say that congress does not have the power to tell me what healthcare plan to purchase. But I can't imagine Speaker Pelosi letting a little thing like the constitution standing in her way.

Posted by: Alexander Fogg at November 7, 2009 11:12 AM

Thank you, Alexander. I'm nursing at keyboard so I didn't go look that up, although I was pretty sure it was in there....

And thanks for posting the text of the 10th amendment. That is precisely what I was trying to say, only cited better!

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:16 AM

The largest problem is what we are terming "healthcare" covers everything from little johnny's sniffles to major trauma or public health (which IS government business) for epidemics.

There is nothing in the constitution about police and fire - but they are provided locally and without choice - you dial 911, but you generally can't ask for a specific officer or fireman. Or paramedic. If you are broken and bleeding you generally can't choose either. There is a role for collective health care. It used to be done by the churches and civic organizations (For all my criticism of Henry Ford, Detroit owes him on health care, but many other hospitals have some Catholic, Jewish, or other label still). There is no market, considerations of utility, or anything else when you are lying unconscious from some acute condition or trauma. So this aspect at least - and it is the core problem which needs solving - is not a matter which can be done by a free market.

I know from personal experience, or personal non-experience since I can remember going off the road on my motorcycle, and then the emergency room though I was more bruised and scraped and generally would have just gone home and carefully cleaned the wounds, but somehow I agreed to be taken by ambulance to the ER and ended up with the usually large bill for something I have no memory of and probably would not have agreed to had my brain rebooted faster - perhaps I should have used my cell to get competitive bids on both the ambulance and ER?.

We aren't going to leave people bleeding on the street while we verify their proof of insurance so someone - usually the taxpayer - will pay anyway, or you will through higher rates for your care since that goes into their overhead.

Anything that is voluntary and can be comparison shopped should not be part of this, but even the states will say insurance must cover various things, like alternative medicine, in-vitro, viagra, chiropractic, contacts, so there is no choice except the loaded cadillac, mercedes, or lexus. Let the free marketers start with the states and insist insurance cover acute problems 100% but put no other requirement.

Instead of addressing acute, emergency, critical care which no one chooses no more than they choose to be crime victims or have fires, the corporations move in to get Halliburton-care, and the "progressives" move in to try to take control of every aspect of our lives.

But now the pro-choicers are hoisted on their own petard. They now have to say they want to see women and children die unless taxpayers are forced to pay for abortion.

Posted by: tz at November 7, 2009 11:22 AM

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

I recommend that Virginia Minnow respect her ban from this site and take the time to study some history.

I work with the uninsured and underinsured on a daily basis working as a nurse in the pediatric emergency room at an inner-city county hospital. And my family "enjoys" the "free" healthcare of the UK system... in fact, my children as dual U.S./British citizens could "enjoy" that care as well, should they move there.

However, there are reasons that nurses flock from the U.K. and other socialized healthcare nations to the U.S..... and patients come as well.

Our system is not perfect. But we need intelligent reform, not a complete overthrow that will cost trillions of dollars and destroy our economy and quality of healthcare.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:26 AM

We may need to reform some cost issues in the ER, tz, but the fact is, the system works in that those who have such issues ARE already covered in terms of receiving care. EMTALA already exists. Those costs will most appropriately be lowered by intelligent tort reform.

If we want to see more people covered, we need to get more people employed (as most people have coverage through their employers.)

Taxing small business to death and increasing government regulations on everything the greedy blowhards in congress think they have the right to control increases unemployment... which makes the situation worse.

Instead of this monstrosity, we should be giving business incentives to create jobs, such as tax cuts or credits for those businesses who create a certain number of jobs covered by health insurance.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:35 AM

I'm a U.S. citizen, born here. I won't be "moving back" anywhere. And I would NEVER choose the U.K. system for my children's healthcare. It is deplorable. Oh, joy, they have the right to free care that sucks. Amazingly, I don't consider that a benefit.

Appropriate reform... not overthrowing a system that does more right than it does wrong.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:37 AM

I'm watching this live... that lady from NY is an idiot.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:39 AM

"Would you be happy with that? No! You'd move back to Britain. Would I? No. I'd move back to Canada. You and I are doubly fortunate: insurance coverage here AND a fallback. Lots of Americans have neither."

Posted by: Minnow at November 7, 2009 11:33 AM

There are volunteer clinics, and doctors who will do procedures for free when patients are in dire straits. I agree with Elisabeth who said "why overthrow a system that does more right than it does wrong"? Do you junk your car when it needs a new battery?
Do you raze a school building when test scores are below par?
How can you rationalize the healthcare overhaul economically?

Posted by: Janet at November 7, 2009 11:45 AM

Not only that, Janet, but the "greedy" doctors, hospitals, and drug manufacturers who Congress would love to strip of their "evil profits" not only volunteer their time, skills and give away products HERE... they go all over the world doing the same thing! One of my best friends went to Africa last year and performed surgery on a variety of conditions on over 4 dozen patients. A doctor at our church goes to South America every year and provides REAL reproductive healthcare (not abortions) for over 5 HUNDRED women every year.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:52 AM

There is no tort reform in this bill.

This bill destroys jobs (which is where most Americans get their insurance) and provides disincentives to create new jobs.

The cost is too high for what, if any, benefits there may be. This bill sucks, needs to be tossed and we need to start again, issue by issue (rather than one overwhelming bill that is so vague as make any claims as to its benefits worthless).

I work with doctors who pay for children's chemotherapy out of their POCKETS. They are not the exception... the good doctors are the RULE. Thank God.

If you want to know how to really improve health care, ask those providing it. I'm a nurse. The doctors speak... and not through the AMA which represents mostly med students and academics... has REAL information available.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:57 AM


Docs4PatientCare Proposed Alternatives for Effective Healthcare Reform:

* There is no logical reason to hastily pass this legislation by a predetermined deadline. We have one chance to get this right.

* Bring "all" stakeholders together to help assure a meaningful and sustainable reform by considering many recommendations and proposals.

* Adopt a patient-centered approach to healthcare reform that empowers patients and promotes freedom of choice.

* Use the power of government to assist the uninsured obtain health coverage through modification of the tax code, such as tax credits and vouchers.

* Reduce high insurance premiums by opening up patient risk pools across the entire nation, thereby diffusing risk.

* Allow the individual/family to be the "owner" of the policy making their health care coverage portable and available if they lose their job or move to a new place of employment. This will eliminate exclusion from the new employer's plan for a “pre-existing” health issue and also eliminate a waiting period to qualify for enrollment.

* Encourage and expand Health Savings Accounts. Tax-Free savings vehicle for planned and/or unexpected medical expenses.

* Tort Reform. The costs to our healthcare system secondary to the practice of defensive medicine are over $100 billion annually, or $2,000 per family.

* Insurance Reform. Guarantee insurability due to pre-existing illness. Eliminate Insurance company antitrust exemption.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:58 AM

Compare the two bills (one of which the MSM doesn't even admit exists). Pelosi's bill is a waste of money and does not achieve anything OTHER than taking over 1/6th of the economy. The GOP bill provides the real reform this country needs.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:04 PM

Volunteer clinics? Doctors who perform services for free?

Sorry elisabeth, but again, health care is a right and people should not have to beg for or rely on the charity of others for their healthcare coverage if they are too poor or too sick to get insurance coverage.

Posted by: Minnow at November 7, 2009 12:04 PM

Health CARE is a right. Health INSURANCE is not. And it sure as heck isn't something we should be ordered to get or face $250,000 in fines and 5 years in prison!

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:07 PM

I just turned on C-SPAN,
do we want a yes or no vote? Right now it's even.

Posted by: Janet at November 7, 2009 12:07 PM

Health CARE is already provided, which while not A right, IS right. Health INSURANCE is not a right. And it sure as heck isn't something we should be ordered to get or face $250,000 in fines and 5 years in prison!

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:07 PM

Sorry for the first post... it is NOT a double post, I revised my thoughts to further clarify. Difficult to type with clarity one handed.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:11 PM

That was me, not Elisabeth.
Are you too proud to rely on charity from private individuals willing to provide it? That's just silly. Government provisions are charity, think about it.

Posted by: Janet at November 7, 2009 12:11 PM

Janet, she just wants to TAKE, not to ASK. We shouldn't have a right to determine what types of charity to support or provide. Our all knowing (GAG, VOMIT) government should decide that for us and simply take away any of our money they don't think we "deserve" to pay for it.

As for the vote... if I had any idea what "on ordering the previous question" actually referred to I'd know what to hope for. I'm guess we want a no vote since that is where the GOP is voting.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:13 PM

Where in healthcare do YOU work? Because, if you come to my ER, and you require being admitted (in other words, more than just emergency care) you are admitted. Ability to pay does NOT factor into admissions. And yes, the care ROCKS... that is why all of the firefighters and police officers in our area come to where I work. In fact, with the Arizona Burn Center as a part of our facility, there are people from a SIX STATE area who are rushed to our facility, as well as those from Mexico who need burn care.

Yes, there are bills to pay afterward. But care is provided FIRST without any differences for those who are wealthy versus those who are homeless or refugees.

I am VERY proud of the work I do. I work with refugees, the homeless, the uninsured, the underinsured, the burn victims, children in the state system, the families of police and firefighters who recognize that our care is the best and more...

So you can quit making snide comments about the level of care that I, and other healthcare professionals, provide to our patients. It is the very best, I guarantee.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:22 PM

Once again, Minnow, you don't understand or you intentionally misrepresent the problem. Many volunteer clinics and charity assistance programs assist people covered by Medicare, Medicaid, insurance, or no insurance. Medicare has a higher rate of denial than most insurance companies. Medicaid bureaucracy can make it impossible for a beneficiary to access a covered service.

I don't have any statistics at my fingertips, but going by memory, I am willing to bet I have referred just as many Medicare and Medicaid patients for charity assistance programs as I have uninsured patients. Despite your need to portray insurance companies as the bad guy, they are often very willing to flex and cover a procedure, prescription or equipment out of policy. Medicare and Medicaid do not. Private companies understand that covering something out of policy now will prevent a higher expense down the road. Medicare and Medicaid go by formulas and strict guidelines, and they often have very little to do with what's best for a patient or likely to save money in the long run.

Given the cuts coming to Medicare, I expect the need for volunteer medical and charity programs to increase. And please, don't insult competent medical staff who volunteer their services!

Posted by: Fed Up at November 7, 2009 12:25 PM

Really? You're giving? There are organizations RIGHT NOW that provide for health care costs. How much do you donate to the United Way? Or to other organizations?

My coworkers and I not only PROVIDE care daily, but VOLUNTEER our time and expertise and DONATE to funds to cover costs for those less fortunate. This government mandate will PREVENT us from continuing to do those things so that government can take money out of our pockets to fund their new czars and other newly created government entities and organizations.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:26 PM

Something tells me that pots and pots of coffee are brewing on Capitol Hill today.

And tonight.

And tomorrow...

Posted by: carder at November 7, 2009 12:28 PM


I think the plan is to get the members of the House so exhausted that they say what the heck, let's get this vote over with so we can go home. Definitely not the way to go.

Posted by: Janet at November 7, 2009 12:40 PM

I love how you go literal when it suits your purposes.

Look, I would love to see everyone have access to insurance and routine, preventative, therapeutic, alternative and all sorts of care.

THIS BILL WILL NOT MAKE THAT HAPPEN. It will have the OPPOSITE effect because it will KILL JOBS which is where most people get their insurance.

The Congressional Budget Office has clearly shown that this bill will RAISE the costs of healthcare in this country WITHOUT providing an increase in care and only a minimal increase in coverage in terms of number covered and a decrease in coverage in terms of what is covered!

If what you stated is what you want, you should be AGAINST this bill.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 12:48 PM

If Canada's system is so great (which it must be, otherwise, why would so many Canadians who would DIE in their system be coming to America for treatment they can't get at home?), why don't you keep your nose out of America's business and go enjoy Canada's cool free stuff, Minnow? Please. And don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya on the way out.

Posted by: xalisae at November 7, 2009 1:09 PM

My husband actually DOES have a growth in his brain right now. We don't know if it is cancerous yet. The success rate for treatment in the UK is so low there is NO WAY I would advise him to return. American medicine is far superior and I would do what it takes to obtain it.

The more realistic fear is the one that THIS bill promises to make reality... high unemployment causing people to lose their insurance benefits. In addition, rationing of care resulting from this bill would eventually cause our cancer death rates to rise to meet those in the U.K.

Again, THIS bill does NOT do what you think it will.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 1:11 PM

You are positing a situation that is more likely to be CAUSED by this bill.

My preference would be to keep the insurance I have now and see Congress institute REAL reform, not massive government entitlement programs.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 1:25 PM

Prayers for your husband, Elisabeth! Thank goodness he will be able to get the best care here before the progressives have time to dismantle the system.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 7, 2009 1:33 PM

Maybe someone knows, doesn't the fact that our population is so much larger than Canada, the U.K. and other European countries with socialized medicine have an impact on the effectiveness of such a program in the US?

Posted by: Janet at November 7, 2009 1:43 PM

My prayers go out to your family, Elisabeth.

Posted by: Janet at November 7, 2009 1:45 PM

Thank you. We don't know that it is cancerous at this time and there is reason to believe it may not be.

Still, I have employer sponsored health insurance that fully covers all of his bills and allows us to choose our doctors... this enables him to see the fine physicians at Barrow Neurological Institute, doctors who people from all over the world fly in to see.

And because we have employer sponsored health insurance, if I were to change jobs, this condition will continue to be treated because it is currently the law (which many people don't seem to know) that if you go from one employer plan to another employer plan you do not have to meet pre-existing condition time frames.

He was in the hospital twice in September for over a week. We had to pay $200. That's it.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 1:47 PM

Yes, thank goodness we have insurance. Employer sponsored insurance goes with EMPLOYMENT. Massive tax burdens and regulatory burdens RAISE UNEMPLOYMENT and provide DISINCENTIVES to hire. This bill will cause a huge jump in unemployment, meaning more people will NOT have medical insurance!

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 1:49 PM

Minnow... with all due respect: is there some serious reason why you don't just start your own blog, and post your thoughts *there*? Heck, maybe we can even talk Jill into registering for your blog, once, so that you can have the thrill of banning her (after giving her several more pieces of your mind, of course)! I'll be happy to step you through the process, if you'd like...

Posted by: Paladin at November 7, 2009 1:56 PM

What is the best way to make sure people are out of work long enough to lose coverage? THIS BILL which destroys our economy, creates 118 NEW government agencies and breaks the back of small business.

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 2:00 PM

The operative phrase there minnow, since you seem to be lacking in your reasoning skills, is "out of work", which this bill will do quite effectively.

Posted by: xalisae at November 7, 2009 2:10 PM

You don't know much about insurance, do you? Prior to becoming a nurse I had licensure in both health and life insurance in the state of Arizona.

If someone is working (which this bill decreases the likelihood of) with benefits, if they get sick, their short term and then long term disability kicks in and the employee maintains their health insurance during that time.

It is more likely for someone to happen to get sick when out of work when unemployment is high! When unemployment is low, people are more likely to be working when health problems strike.

This bill provides disincentives to hiring. At what point will you recognize that this is a serious problem?

Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 2:13 PM

I was checking the news and there are actually people lying and saying that this will ban abortions, period, to try and get more people to oppose this.

Why can pro-choicers, for once, please just tell the truth?!

No, it doesn't ban abortions. It says that taxes shouldn't go to abortions. Taxes should go to prenatal care.

And taxes should go to schools. And roads. And countless other things that progress the world, not make it a worse place. Women are better off with prenatal care and hope and support and empowerment than abortion.

I'm just so confused why opponents to fetal rights are so pissed about this. I hate using the slavery comparison, but they sound a lot like the slavery nuts who wouldn't allow anything that was a potential threat to slavery. It's like they're obsessed with it...

Posted by: Vannah at November 7, 2009 2:24 PM

Sorry, mean't *can't*


Posted by: Vannah at November 7, 2009 2:25 PM

This bill provides disincentives to hiring.

Yes, not to mention increasing the cost per employee of doing business. Those costs will be passed on to the employee in the form of wage freezes, pay cuts, or layoffs. They'll be passed on to consumers in higher prices for products and services. Just what this economy doesn't need.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 7, 2009 3:04 PM

There is no tort reform in this bill.
Posted by: Elisabeth at November 7, 2009 11:57 AM

Nor should there be.

Posted by: Hal at November 7, 2009 3:44 PM

Prayers ascending for you and your family, Elisabeth.

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at November 7, 2009 4:01 PM

Why not?

Posted by: Janet at November 7, 2009 4:54 PM

Because Hal is a lawyer. They love lawsuits. The more damaging to everyone involved, the better.

Posted by: xalisae at November 7, 2009 5:33 PM