Saturday, March 20, 2010

Will C Street Cultist Bart Stupak Force Democrats To Choose Between Choice And Healthcare?


Last night we talked about how the Democratic leadership was rolling out an impressive array of "yes" votes on healthcare from conservative Democrats like Brad Ellsworth (Blue Dog and Senate candidate-IN) and Allen Boyd (Blue Dog with a primary challenge-FL). There was even a well-timed endorsement from the AMA:
"The pending bill is imperfect, but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to something as important as the health of Americans,” said J. James Rohack, M.D., AMA president. “By extending health coverage to the vast majority of the uninsured, improving competition and choice in the insurance marketplace, promoting prevention and wellness, reducing administrative burdens, and promoting clinical comparative effectiveness research, this bill will help patients and their physicians.”

“While the final product is certainly not what we would have devised, we strongly support the parts of this bill that are desperately needed by millions of Americans who are struggling to get or keep health insurance coverage,” Dr. Rohack said. “We will continue to work with Congress and the administration to solve important issues that cannot be addressed through the reconciliation process.”

“This is not the last step, but the next step toward real health system reform,” Dr. Rohack said. “We will remain actively engaged with Congress and the administration to ensure that before Congress adjourns there are additional important changes to our health system. Congress must act to preserve access to care for seniors and military families by permanently repealing the Medicare physician payment formula that will cut Medicare payments by 21 percent next month. According to an AARP poll, nearly 90 percent of people age 50 and older are concerned that the Medicare physician payment cuts threaten their access to care.”

But this momentum didn't stop the worst conservatives in the Democratic Party from lining up with the GOP and their corporate sponsors, slimy conservatives like Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA), Mike Arcuri (Blue Dog-NY), the execrable John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), and Harry Teague (NM). And then there was deranged C-Street cultist and anti-Choice fanatic Bart Stupak.

Although Pelosi seemed to indicate she wasn't going to give in to his blackmail, by late last night she still didn't have the 216 votes and was being forced by Stupak and his half-dozen allies to compromise on women's Choice. Pelosi also met with livid progressives who were threatening-- but why should anyone ever believe their toothless threats?-- to withdraw support if Stupak is allowed to torpedo Choice. (By the way, Blue America is asking all our readers to contribute to Connie Saltonstall's primary challenge to Stupak as well as to Regina Thomas' primary challenge to John Barrow.)

According to The Hill "a senior Democratic aide directly involved in the abortion debate said Pelosi appeared to have agreed to give Stupak a vote on an 'enrollment resolution' offered by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a key Stupak ally."
Kaptur’s resolution contains the same abortion language that Stupak successfully attached at the 11th hour to the House healthcare bill in November. Were the resolution to pass the House, it would instruct the Senate clerk to change the healthcare bill to reflect Stupak’s more restrictive language to prohibit federal dollars from going toward abortion coverage.

Stupak late Friday said that he was still in talks with the Speaker on the possibility of such an enrollment resolution-- which he and others have been floating as a possible solution this week.

“There's a proposal out there, and we want to see it in writing and massage it,” Stupak said. “We have nothing yet.”

Pelosi spoke on the floor with Stupak for 10 minutes immediately before a group of pro-abortion rights Democrats angrily surrounded Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and then headed into the Speaker’s office just off the House floor.

Stupak, meanwhile, has scheduled a press conference at 11 a.m. Saturday. "Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll have it for you and can give it to you," he said of the proposal.

Stupak has maintained that he has enough votes to kill the healthcare bill, and has threatened to do so unless his demands that his language be included in the eventual healthcare law are met.

Meanwhile, the disloyal opposition (the ones on the other side of the aisle) are manufacturing phony memos, threatening secession, suing the government, threatening to torpedo immigration reform, and, of course, impeach President Obama.

Responses from around the country-- other than from the riled-up and ignorant teabaggers-- seemed a lot more balanced and sane. I heard from a Democratic congressional candidate in Montana, Tyler Gernant, who's running against multimillionaire healthcare foe Denny Rehberg. Here's a guest post he wrote yesterday:
Recently, Congressman Dennis Rehberg mourned the approaching of “another artificial health care deadline.” Having heard the voice of his supporters loud and clear, he vowed to fight against health care reform until he gets what he wants. Unfortunately for Montana, Dennis’ comprehensive solution to health care was spelled out last August, when he told Montanans that we need to join a gym and stop smoking. Perhaps that is why Dennis doesn’t understand the urgency of tackling this challenge. While a deadline in Washington may seem artificial to Dennis, it has real consequences here in Montana.

The health care reform that Dennis is threatening to kill would improve health insurance coverage for 564,000 Montanans by prohibiting annual and lifetime limits, eliminating rescissions for Montanans who become sick while insured, banning coverage denials for pre-existing conditions and reducing the costs of preventative care. The bill would also give tax credits and other assistance for up to 261,000 Montana families and 34,900 of Montana’s small businesses. These tax credits and other assistance would help Montanans afford meaningful health care coverage. Most importantly, this bill would cut waste, fraud, abuse and excessive profits for private insurers. In doing so, it would reduce our budget deficit by about $1.3 trillion over the next twenty years.

While Dennis may find this deadline artificial, the benefits to Montanans are very real. That is not to say that this legislation is perfect; it is not. Montanans still need a meaningful alternative to private insurance through a deficit-neutral public option. We still need a system that pays doctors for the value of their services instead of the volume. Although we may not get everything this year, there are a lot of positive changes that this legislation would bring to our health care system. We have waited nearly forty years to attempt reform that would merely get us out of the starting gate. We cannot wait another forty years for Dennis Rehberg to decide that true health care reform means more than to join a gym and stop smoking.

If the current health care reform passes, we need someone in Congress who will be willing to work with others to build upon it, not destroy it. Montanans are proudly independent and they don’t need a Congressman who is proudly partisan. Instead of mocking a bill because of its length, Dennis should be working to improve upon the bill. Instead of using fear and scare tactics to drum up opposition, Dennis should be working to build support for his own ideas, if he has any real ones. Instead of demonizing the opposite party, he should be working to find common ground. Dennis is using the tried and true tactics of a tired politician. We need a Congressman who will look past the next election to do what is right for the next generation.

UPDATE: Situation Fluid

Stupak just postponed his 11am press conference in which he had planned to announce his triumph over Choice. And a CNN reporter just tweeted that there is no deal:

And now a fascist-oriented GOP propaganda sheet is also reporting that there is no deal between Democrats and Stupak. So who will Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) stand with in the end-- the people or the Church? (Were Republicans right when they warned during the JFK election that Catholics couldn't be trusted in high office because of the Vatican? I never thought so, but these anti-Choice extremists are mighty strange. I wonder what Michael Moore thinks about Marcy now!) Meanwhile, my friends, remember, do not listen to the shrieking voices in other people's heads! It looks like Pelosi has the votes she needs without bending down and kissing any papal rings. Latest conservative Democrats to jump onboard: Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN), Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA) and Bill Owens (D-NY). And the latest Blue Dog to jump overboard is cowardly conservative shill Zack Space (OH).

Did we mention that Blue America is encouraging donations to Connie Saltonstall's primary campaign against Bart Stupak? It's the only way to hold these faithless Democrats accountable for their perfidy.

Labels: , , , ,


At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Lee said...


I am so sick of this man and his unresolved women/sons suicide issues that are spilling over into his job.

I spoke with Manan Trivedis campaign manager yesterday. After bill is passed he is going to write his suggestions for improvement. Will you post it here? Manans the real deal unlike that Blue Dog in training Doug Pike. Of course Bush rubber stamper Jim Gerlach who rarely tweets has been twittering like crazy against bill.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

Howie, doesn't the Senate health bill already include the Nelson content that already tightens availability on abortions? And if that's so, why play these games attacking the C Street Buffoon who hasn't got a chance in hell with his amendment?

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The defeat of Stupak in November would rank right up there with the defeat of Santorum. It's time the catholic church starts paying taxes.

At 3:30 AM, Blogger DocJess said...

Hey Lee -- if you think Doug's a blue dog, you don't actually know what a blue dog is...Doug's a progressive. And VERY in favour of the bill's passage, and its future improvement.

The Pike and Trivedi campaigns jointly called on Gerlach to break with the IIE and vote for the bill. Last I heard, no response.

PLEASE -- if you don't get your facts right, you'll never truly understand who your enemies are, and who your friends are...

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Lois Herr said...

Let's not let the C Street Republicans off the hook either. We can send a message to both Republicans and Democrats that they can't throw women under the bus anymore. We need to defeat both Stupak and Pitts in November - now that would be historic.
Lois Herr, progressive Democrat opposing Pitts in PA-16.


Post a Comment

<< Home