Health Care Reform Passed?

Written By: Kelly Opdycke
(Editor, KO Zine)

The House has finally passed a health care bill. Everyone in America can now jump for joy at this remarkable victory. But with one particularly big issue compromised and the dooms day that’s to come when the Senate tries to pass a similar version, I’m not sure the time has come for celebration.

Before I bring everyone down, let’s start with the positive: Democrats won a major victory with the inclusion of a public option in the bill. This will make health insurance accessible for those who aren’t covered by their employer and simply can’t afford it by allowing a government option at a much lower cost.

While this sounds great, one amendment that was attached to the bill stands out as a huge problem for those of us pro-choicers. The Stupak amendment prevents federal funding for any woman seeking an abortion. Now it’s nothing new for the government to refuse funds for an abortion except in the cases of rape, incest or harm to the mother (see the Hyde amendment), but this amendment is still the first of its kind. It also prevents abortion coverage for certain small businesses and families who qualify to receive a government subsidized insurance plan through private insurance agencies.

According to Mother Jones, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 18 million will utilize government subsidies to acquire health care for their family by 2019. Women may purchase their own abortion coverage, but like so many say, “Who really plans for an unplanned pregnancy?”

Pro-choice Senate Democrats have threatened to block any plan that includes this amendment.
On Nov. 9, President Barack Obama responded to critics by saying, “This is a health care bill, not an abortion bill.”

Next on my agenda is one specific opponent of this health care bill: Joe Lieberman. While I believe dissent is always a good thing, I think Lieberman deserves a good kick in the ass. Just because you label yourself an ‘independent,’ doesn’t mean you can ruin this moment for your former party.

So you want to filibuster the bill? Interesting, because in many other cases you have been an opponent of the filibuster, even for bills you did not support. You actually think this issue is worth standing up there and reading out of the phone book (or whatever) for who knows how long, more than say a high-tech fence to protect our borders (something you gave a nay, but it ultimately passed because you didn’t agree with wasting the Senate’s time).

Lieberman, you may not remember this, but last year you almost lost your committee chairmanship because you supported Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate. Because of the newly-elected president’s wish that you would not be punished, you were allowed to keep your position of power in the Senate.

President Obama choose to do this because he wants government to be more bipartisan. Politicians like you, who seem to be unwilling to compromise, prevent this bipartisanship dream from coming true. Mr. Independent, its time for you to start compromising.

Overall, this bill still has a long way to go in the Senate. All I know is I have a lot of friends who haven’t been to the doctor in years, including myself. I’m not happy with the abortion compromise and I hope it’s eventually killed in the Senate. But, unlike Lieberman, I’m willing to compromise a little for the greater good.

More Info:
Mother Jones
Huffington Post
CNN

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