The health care vote

I listened to the health care debate in Congress on and off today while driving around to soccer fields and the mass flu vaccination site, and for the last hour I've had c-span on while sorting my clothes.  Although I know that there's still a long while to go before we actually get a law, and this bill is truly an act of sausage making, I'm still fascinated by the process.

Wow, the margin is a lot closer than I would have guessed– they've got exactly the 218 votes needed, with only one D not yet recorded.  I'll be interested to see how many of the Dems voting no are on the left.

Ok, here's the roll call results.  I'm not an expert on all members of Congress, but the only nos that jump out at me as being from the left are Kucinich, and maybe Artur Davis.

So, the big news of the evening was probably the passage of the Stupak amendment, which says that any insurance plan purchased through the "exchange" can't cover abortion.  My understanding is that this would NOT affect coverage under employer-provided insurance.   When I looked into this last year, I found out that about half of employer-provided plans do cover abortions. 

I think this is bad policy, for precisely the same reason that I think the Hyde amendment, which bans coverage of abortion under Medicaid, is bad policy.  It pushes abortions into the second trimester, which is more dangerous and more expensive.  But I'm not particularly surprised by it.  Fundamentally, I'd rather health insurance reform that didn't cover abortion than no health insurance reform.  And with such a thin margin, I'm not sure Pelosi had a choice.

The cynic in me wonders if maybe more of the public will holler when it's their insurance that is affected, not just poor women's coverage.

Update:  I listened to this NPR story on the Stupak amendment on my way home tonight, and now I'm even more confused.  They say that it doesn't prevent the exchange from including plans that cover abortion (although insurers would have to offer plans that were otherwise identical but didn't cover abortion) as long as you're paying with only your own money and don't receive a tax subsidy for the insurance.

So what I'm confused about is what are the rules for employer-provided insurance, which is also tax-subsidized.   Is it covered by the Stupak amendment?  Or are they pretending that employer-provided insurance isn't subsidized by taxpayers?

Update 2: Nice analysis of the D's who voted no from the NY Times.

5 Responses to “The health care vote”

  1. wendy Says:

    looks like Planned Parenthood will be getting a big donation from me this year.
    I saw a lone Republican from New Orleans voted for the bill. I wrote to my newspaper and asked if we could trade reps with Louisiana – someone who represents his constituents and not his party.

  2. jim Says:

    Back in the sixties, you couldn’t get contraceptives through the British National Health Service. If you wanted a prescription for the pill, you had to go privately to a doctor and when you filled the prescription pay full price, rather than the standard co-pay. If you wanted to get fitted for a diaphragm, again you had to go privately to a doctor. I don’t know if that’s still the case; I haven’t lived in England since 1970. Undoubtedly bad policy, but presumably a necessary compromise when the NHS was being created.
    It isn’t just poor women whose health insurance is banned from covering abortions. The Federal Employees Health Benefit program is also covered by the Hyde Amendment. I haven’t heard federal employees holler. I assume that for middle class women the cost of abortions (in locations where they’re available) is not their major concern when confronting the possibility.

  3. urbanartiste Says:

    Abortion is a serious concern, but I am more livid about this:
    The new health bill will empower the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to states that reform their medical malpractice systems. There are just two conditions: Those reforms must not “limit attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.”

  4. trishka Says:

    Or are they pretending that employer-provided insurance isn’t subsidized by taxpayers?
    this is exactly what they’re doing, as i understand it.

  5. dave.s. Says:

    I would put Artur Davis on the right. Here is the solution: doc-in-a-box!

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