Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health Care Hash

The House passed the healthcare bill last night, 220 to 215. By the time all the amendments were done, it became a very mixed bag. The Stupak amendment restricting abortion funding is particularly odious; a real offense against poor women.
But there are some good points to the bill as well:
* coverage of as many as 36 million uninsured Americans
* ends subsidies of private insurers under medicare advantage
* closes the "donut hole" in medicare drug coverage
* allows medicare to negotiate drug prices
* prohibits denials based on prior conditions, and ends rescission's except in cases of fraud
* funds more education of doctors and nurses
* includes the seeds of a real public option
Do we deserve better? Yes. Is this as good as we can get at this time? Probably.
Speaker Pelosi said she had the votes, and in the end she did. My own congress waffle, Ann Kirkpatrick, ended up voting "yes" after much dithering, as I thought she would (and she actually had enough spine to vote against Stupak, which mildly surprised me).
With our current dysfunctional congressional system, this compromise is probably all we can get. But it really is a shame that women's rights were sacrificed to get it.
Now it's on to the Senate, where the circus will be even more ridiculous. Lord only knows what we'll be looking at by the end of that process.

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