Liberals Should Get On Board

Some voices on the Left are unhappy with the health care reform bill the Senate will vote on this week. They are upset about the lack of a public option. They are mad that Sen. Joe Lieberman abandoned a position he has long held in favor of a Medicare buy-in and, by doing so, got that provision tossed from the legislation. And, some contend that only a single-payer system like that in Canada would truly fix health care. They are wrong and should support the bill.

To be clear, the bill would have been stronger if it had either a public option or a Medicare buy-in. And, a single-payer system is preferable to the hodge-podge we have in many ways, starting with the fact that the legislation that set up Canada’s system was eight pages long and could be readily understood by everyone, legislator and citizen alike. The problem is that none of these provisions can win sixty votes in the U.S. Senate.

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Most of those on the Left who are bemoaning the outcome are a bit wet behind the ears. They do not recall that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was preceded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that both were preceded by the 1957 Civil Rights Act. This latter measure was weak, weak to the point that some denounced it as merely a political ploy to provide cover for liberal Democrats, but it paved the way. Similarly, Medicare did not start as the nearly comprehensive health care program it is today, originally only covering hospital visits and expanding over time.

Once the current bill is enacted, Americans, all Americans, will view health care more as a right and less as a perk of employment. It will become an entitlement. It will be unassailable the way Social Security is unassailable. If, when the full reform is implemented it turns out that the subsidies are insufficient and that people now forced to buy insurance find it cost prohibitive, the political debate will focus on increasing the subsidies or lowering the costs, not on denying the right to coverage. If other states come to object to the special treatment of Nebraska’s Medicaid costs, a measure included to win over Sen. Nelson, the pressure will be on the federal government to increase its share of costs for the other states, not on denying Nebraska its special treatment.

This is not only a matter of not permitting the perfect to be the enemy of the good, although it is also that. This reform is good on the merits. It improves the current health care system. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should send a letter to all Americans the day after the bill is signed outlining some of the measures that most impact on citizens, such as the provision to end the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. This measure does not actually affect that many people but it has come to represent for all Americans the abusive power of the insurance companies that put profits before people. While the ban on such denial of coverage only applies to children immediately, it will apply to all citizens when the pan is fully implemented, and all citizens will have the opportunity to enroll in a catastrophic care plan immediately. The letter from HHS should state this and provide a toll-free number to call if citizens encounter continued stone walling by insurance companies. I need scarcely add that sending such a letter will help convince people that the reform effort is a good thing. That can’t hurt in the midterm elections.

The abortion issue is different, and I have yet to find anyone who has been able to demonstrate how the Senate language differs from the House language. The provision in the Senate bill that individuals who buy a plan that includes abortion must write a separate check every month for that coverage sure seems like a rider to me, and it was just such riders that the House bill envisioned but did not mandate. The House language is more clear but it seems to me that the Senate bill achieves the same effect.

So, liberals have to stop whining and get on board. Passing health care reform is not only a big achievement, it is an historic achievement. It is also a first step.

 

 

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Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
Quite simply, Minion can't cite one Democratic proposal on abortion in health care that he has ever opposed.  Minion even admits that federal money will for the first time flow into plans that cover abortion and that because of fungibility of that money the accounting scheme claiming to separate the money is a SHAM. Minion simply refuses to acknowledge the fact (because he hates facts when they support his enemies) that the Hyde Amendment prohibits STATE Medicaid matching funds from covering abortion, and if the state covers abortion it creates an entirely separate plan, having NO CONNECTION to federal involvement so not necessitating in any way a fund segregation method.  Whereas, the federal plan explicitly sets up the abortion coverage and the fund segregation.  By definition, this is federal involvement in support of abortion insurance absent from the way Medicaid is handled. And the Medicaid arrangement IS the Stupak Amendment, which the Senate, and Minion, and now Winters, have rejected.
 
The difference is that Minion has always dissented from the USCCB and pro-life Democrats in the Stupak coalition on this point.  Winters, on the other hand, claimed to oppose federal funding of abortion insurance plans IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, including accounting schemes, but now he has reneged on his promise when it came down to it. NOW, WHEN STUPAK NEEDED HIS SUPPORT MORE THAN EVER, WINTERS ABANDONNED HIM, just like the liberal Catholics who like Minion who lied a year ago saying they wanted a pro-life Democrat movement.
 
This plan takes our government from NO federal funding of plans that cover abortion and 33 states UNINVOLVED in abortion insurance, to federal funding of ALL plans that cover abortion and ZERO states uninvolved in abortion insurance. It is a government mandate that plan members pay an abortion tax, it allows HRSA to declare abortion a mandatory service in ALL HEALTH PLANS, it aborts native Americans, and fails to protect pro-life workers from forced participation in abortion. Support it if you want, but admit that being a Democrat is more important to you than being a Catholic.
David Pasinski
7 years 12 months ago
Thank you, Sean! This liberal agrees. You and Paul Krugman convince me despite my respect for the conservative David Brooks and various other despairing liberals. If 40 Republicans unite to oppose it and it drives McConnell, Inhofe,McCain and a few others apoplectic, it must have something going for it!
Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago

MSW, it sounds like you are in favor of this  bill full stop, embracing its abortion provisions despite the USCCB's and Stupak's rejection of them. Under the Senate version, government agency that currently manages health coverage for federal employees will promote and help subsidize multi-state health plans that include elective abortions, and ALL individuals who participate in plans in the Exchange that include elective abortion coverage, even if they do so unwittingly, will directly pay part of their own premiums into an account that pays for nothing but elective abortions (in an amount not less than $12.00 per year under sections 1303(b)(2)(B)-(D)).  We will go from 33 states not being involved in abortion insurance coverage to 0 states, overnight, with the federal government being formally involved forever.  This is an abortion increase, it is federal government policy adopting abortion as health care, and the accounting scheme separating the funds is indistinguishable from the Capps proposals you said you opposed.  And by the way, the plan fails to prohobit governments from discriminating against pro-life workers, and it allows HRSA to REQUIRE abortion coverage as "preventative care." 
On June 14, on this page, you PROMISED to oppose federal funding of abortion health plans and to oppose the politicians who enact it.  http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?id=87352873-3048-741E-9131977572051964  You said "if the President or my representatives in Congress support federal funding for abortion in any way, shape or form, I will never vote for them again and I might risk my right hand in the next election by voting for their opponent."
Now, not with a bang but a whimper, you are saying everyone should support the bill and you're OK with federal funding of abortion plans.
How convenient, you don't have to oppose your party after all. 

Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
P.S.  The bill also changes legal tradition to authorize federal coverage of abortions for Indians.  But why would a liberal care about killing native populations.
Jeff Bagnell
7 years 12 months ago
Ouch.  That was devastating.
Tony Annett
7 years 12 months ago
Quite simply, Michael is right, and Matt is wrong.

For the upteenth time, there is no "federal funding of abortion". There is a massive expansion in private insurance coverage, and some of these new recipients will sign up for plans that include abortion - exactly as is the case today for the insured. The Hyde amendment is inapplicable, because there is no new public problem.

Yes, there are subsidies, but I think the firewall is quite tight. The problem is that money is fungible, and it becomes really difficult to isolate all taxpayer funded subsidies from all abortion financing. The Nelson solution is indeed like a "rider". Is it perfect? Of course not, because money is fungible. But as I argued before, what if a person receiving unemployment benefit procures an abortion while on this income? Is it not the case that the taxpayer is implicated in this abortion? Only in the most remote sense possible.

Another, more direct, example is the use of medicaid funds to pay for abortions at the state level - Guttmacher estimates that 13 percent of abortions are paid for my medicaid, the same as private insurance. Of course, the NRLC says this is not a problem, as states must use their own funds - but this is a version the argument they are bubbing an accounting chimera in other circumstances! And besides, why is it that state taxpayer funds should be allowed to finance abortion coverage but not federal taxpayer funds? What is the moral distinction?

And, for the umpteenth time, why is no attention paid to forced funding of abortion by all who pay premiums to private insurance companies? In fact, what this bill does clearly is shine the light on this whole murky area. For the first time ever, it imposes federal restrictions on private insurance companies when it comes to abortion.
7 years 12 months ago
This is an outrageous expansion of government into our personal lives and it is nothing more than a pure power play (as shown by the methods (billions of dollars in favors) used to BRIBE officials to sign on.
 
Yes, covering the uninsured is a form of the "common good"; however, there are much simpler ways to achieve this good and the current attempts by the federal government to take over the health care issue will do more harm than good. As Mr. Winters says, this is only the first step - single payer and government funding of abortion will be the final result.
 
Also, considering the fact we cannot afford our current entitlements (Medicare and SS will be bankrupt in the near future) and the fact that trillions in government spending and borrowing will destroy our monetary system - it does not seem the time for a new trillion dollar government entitlement.
 
Finally, it is not just the liberals or conservatives that are against this bill - it is the PUBLIC that the government wants to "help."  All polls show the majority of the country OPPOSING this legislation that the democrats are forcing down our throats.
 
Just wait until 2010...
7 years 12 months ago
PS - life, liberty and freedom are rights. 
 
Health care is a service.  Do you have a "right" to someone else's services?
 
The left loves to talk about rights - never about responsibilities.  So everyone has a right and no one a responsibility. 
 
This is exactly the infantilization that the government loves to foster so that it can fill the vacuum. 
Tim Lacy
7 years 12 months ago
Scary conservative abolitionist guy Matt Bowman is (once again) wrong.  The ''government agency that currently manages health coverage for federal employees [and that] will promote and help subsidize multi-state health plans'' (Bowman's phrasing), or FEHP, is not a insurance provider.  I repeat, it's NOT, NOT, NOT a government owned provider. 
School time: FEHP is a clearinghouse for federal employees where they select from different private plans who apply/choose to market to federal employees.  Read more here (http://www.opm.gov/insure/new_employ/index.asp) and here (http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/planinfo/index.asp-find a plan in your state).  There's nothing that restricts pro-life insurance agencies from applying to be a part of the FEHB's list of eligible providers.
And the Senate plan discussed in MSW's post prohibits general/blanket abortion coverage in plans offered to subsidized seekers by insurers participating in the exchange.  Hence the separate-check-for-abortion rule.  Is it a perfect solution, per Morning's Minion's post?  No.  That's because our current rules about federal grants to health care are not perfect. 
Fungibility is impossible to prevent.  All you can do is seek to minimize it.  The Senate's pro-life Dems have been faithful to the minimization premise.  - TL
Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
Tim your criticism is not based in reality. It's not me, it's the US Bishops, saying that "the government agency that currently manages health coverage for federal employees will promote and help subsidize multi-state health plans that include elective abortions, contrary to longstanding law governing this agency."  http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2009/09-264.shtml  The agency they're talking about is the Office of Personnel Management.  It currently runs the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, EXCLUDING PLANS THAT COVER ABORTION, and it will run the multi-state health plans under the Senate plan, DEFINITELY INCLUDING PLANS THAT COVER ABORTION. 
 
There's nothing wrong about the analysis that in this respect, and the other components I mentioned, this is an unprecedented, large, federal expansion of involvement in funding abortion coverage, which means an expansion of numbers of abortions and a quantum leap forward for the abortion industry itself, which will now have the federal government's weight behind it AS health care.
7 years 12 months ago
"Go talk to the working families who can't afford health coverage and tell them they have no right to affordable care."
 
Yes, but the solution is not government control of health care!  No one is getting turned away at hospitals (esp Catholic ones that make up 16 percent of the total) - there are already programs to cover the poor, the elderly, children etc.
 
The reason why health care is so expensive is because the govt. already controls 60% via medicare, VA, and medicaid.  There is no incentive to control cost and this bill does not provide them - it simply expands a already broken system.
 
This is how it works: the government gets involved with good intentions and then creates systemic problems which it then says can only be cured with more government involvement!
 
This is not about health care, it is about power and control - just like the abortions it will fund...
Jeff Bagnell
7 years 12 months ago
This is the penultimate step to nationalization of healthcare.  And then there will be rationing.  And federal funding of abortion.  You can see it all coming down the highway like a Mack truck.
John Hayes
7 years 12 months ago
Perhaps it would help to remember that the USCCB has endorsed the Stupak amendment which allows the federal government to pay for abortions in the case of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother. The USCCB did not take the position that "we will not support any bill that pays for abortion under any circumstances."
That should make clear that the goal is to get a health-care bill that is as good as it can be from our standpoint, while recognizing that it won't agree totally with our principles. I don't think it's helpful to that cause to keep looking for ways in which the bill doesn't work exactly as we would like and then claiming that any difference at all means that we cannot support the bill. 
If the USCCB is wiling to support a bill that pays for abortions in the case of rape, inces

t and danger to the life of the mother, what is there remaining in this bill that is so much worse than that that we must oppose it? I don't see anything.
The reconciliation of the House and Senate bills will be a political battle. I think it's good strategy for the USCCB to keep complaining about the Nelson amendment compared to Stupak and that may lead to some improvement in conference. But I wouldn't interpret that political posturing as meaning that, in the end, we should oppose the final bill. Providing health care to millions of currently uninsured people is too important for that. 
 
Jeff Bagnell
7 years 12 months ago
The only problem is that the surpassing majority of Americans don't want the healthcare takeover bill to pass.  
Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
John Haynes doesn't see a difference between maintaining the Hyde Amendment, which pays for maybe dozens of rape, incest, and life of the mother abortions yearly, and expanding that to the federal government funding health plans that cover hundreds of thousands of yearly abortions in America.  That's the kind of logic proposed by Democrats-are-always-right-unless-they're-pro-life Catholics.  The USCCB, and Stupak himself, support health care and believe the Senate plan so massively expands the federal government in abortion that the whole health care proposal must be opposed.  On any other issue the left-leaning recommendations of the USCCB would be treated with infallibility by liberal Catholics.  But when the USCCB Bishops on migration and health reform take a pro-life position, it's time to throw them under the bus as far as liberal Catholics are concerned.  So much for the new strategy of "abortion reduction" by commentators here and at other liberal Catholic publications. They were never serious about it.
Michael Maiale
7 years 12 months ago
To be upfront and honest, I lean to the political right and would like to see the government fix badly structured regulations which cause thousands of dollars of waste for many patients, thus saving the healthcare system an untold amount of money, before they start billing taxpayers to cover the unnecessarily expensive medical care we have now.
 
If I shared Mr. Winters' political leanings, though, I still wouldn't support this bill.  It's longer than Proust's In Search of Lost Time, and the only thing it really accomplishes is that it subsidizes plans for a fraction of the currently uninsured to get them coverage.  Why not just subsidize some people's insurance without putting in hundreds of pages of unnecessary measures (which few in the Senate have actually read) that only make the whole system more confusing?
 
Why not say that if you make under a certain amount of money, you get a certain subsidy towards the plan of your choice, as long as that plan meets certain loose criteria (covers emergency care and certain other basic treatments, doesn't cover abortion, and perhaps certain other elective procedures).  That bill could be at least as effective in covering the uninsured, wouldn't change insurance coverage for those who already have it, and could be easily understood and explained, all from a bill no longer than "The Lemoine Affair."
S Bond
7 years 12 months ago
Bret, you said ''life, liberty and freedom are rights. Health care is a service.''
 
Your words.
 
The underinsured are not the poor and elderly but the working poor and many regular middle class folks.  Yes, people can go to the ER for emergency treatment, but the ER does not provide chemo. 
Yes, people ARE turned away from life saving treatment because of lack of adequate health coverage.
Yes, people do die because they have inadquate or no health coverage.
Are we a pro life people, or are we not?
Access to affordable heath care is a RIGHT.  That's the position of the USCCB:
 
''In our Catholic tradition, health care is a basic human right. Access to health care should not depend on where a person works, how much a family earns, or where a person lives. Instead, every person, created in the image and likeness of God, has a right to life and to those things necessary to sustain life, including affordable, quality health care. This teaching is rooted in the biblical call to heal the sick and to serve ''the least of these,'' our concern for human life and dignity, and the principle of the common good. Unfortunately, tens of millions of Americans do not have health insurance. According to the Catholic bishops of the United States, the current health care system is in need of fundamental reform.''
 
http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/position.shtml
 
7 years 12 months ago
Steph,
 
I agree with your sentiment; however, the question is how to best cover those without insurance without causing new evils such as federal subsidization and, therefore, expansion of abortion.
 
The problem requires reform of the system and the perverse incentives that it creates (namely high levels moral hazard in spending)- the govt. plan will only expand the current crisis, will increase abortion, and will pass on the bill to future generations as they will borrow to find the money for this program.
 
Are these the moral, Christian outcomes we hope for - even in the name of allievating suffering?  No.
 
There are better ways to address this problem.  This cure will be worse than the disease.
S Bond
7 years 12 months ago
JSB "And then there will be rationing."
 
There already IS rationing, here, now, today.  It's called "inadequate health coverage".  It's people dying because they have no access to early screening or preventive care.  It's people being turned down by their health insurance when they need chemo or life saving drugs that the insurance companies decide not to cover.
 
Look, I don't know if this bill is the answer or not, I have not studied it enough.  But we have a serious problem with health care costs and health care coverage in this country.  When you hear of someone bankrupted by medical bills, it really is a case of "There but for the grace of God go I." 
S Bond
7 years 12 months ago
Chris Seeber, I agree with a lot of what you're saying.
For the sake of argument, we are forced to buy car insurance, because if we hit another person, we need to guarantee that we can pay for the damage, right?
 
Arguably, the uninsured cost all of us money, because they wind up in crisis in the ER, and the cost is passed on to us, or their care is subsidized through write-offs, and the hospitals and doctors charge us insured folks more to make up for the deficits.
 
Again, I hear you, and I'd be far happier with getting rid of insurance companies all together, having the government offer catastrophic care insurance, plus coverage for the poor, and let the rest of us pay out of pocket.  We'd get the monthly insurance premium payments back in our paychecks, and doctors, MRI clinics, drug companies, etc., would be forced to compete for our dollars.
This is not an area of expertise of mine, by any stretch, but that's how I see it these days.
Jeff Bagnell
7 years 12 months ago
Well I agree that no one really understands what this bill does.  No one can explain it and few people have read more than half of it.  But we do know that it is a gateway to direct funding of abortion by American citizens, that is obvious.  It should be kicked to the curb for that reason alone - which MSW seemed to agree with back in June 2009.
I understand the bankruptcy situations you describe and they are terrible.  I believe under the Bankruptcy Code, however, that those whose uncovered medical bills make them insolvent can have them discharged in bankruptcy.  The person emerges from the bankruptcy owing nothing to the given hospital or physician.  
This is a situation, I fear, where the cure will be far worse than the disease.  Every other country who has done what the Democrats in Congress are trying to do has experienced a deterioration of their medical systems.  There is a reason why foreigners fly here to get treated and it isn't the scenery.
 
 
 
S Bond
7 years 12 months ago
Yes, JSB, if I were a wealthy foreigner, I'd fly here, too, to get top of the line, cutting edge care.
 
But we have a problem when American citizens are denied even the basics.  Why on earth should someone who works 60 hour weeks cobbling together part time jobs not be able to afford basic health care? 
We have a problem when the best we can do is shrug and say, Well, once these folks are bankrupt, the charges go away, or Everyone can access the ER when things get really bad.
 
We have a problem, and it's a moral one, and we Catholics need to address it.  It's not enough to say Don't cover abortions.  We need to insist that all people have access to affordable heath care.  I wish I knew the best way, I don't, but I hope we can all agree with the bishops that heath care reform is needed, and that everyone has a RIGHT to affordable health care. It is not merely a ''service''.  It is not a ''priviledge''.  It is a RIGHT.  Otherwise, valuing the ''right to life'' winds up being pretty hollow.
Jeff Bagnell
7 years 12 months ago
But the bishops have NOT endorsed this bill.  Your position seems to be, forget about how it expands and entrenches abortion, that doesn't matter so much; what matters is everyone is covered!  And the free market be damned, we'll have the government give it to us, just like social security, medicare, and every other program they have created which are about to run out of money.
 
 
S Bond
7 years 12 months ago
JSB, if your comment is addressed to me, I never said the bishops had endorsed this bill.  I said the bishops have said that we need health care reform.  I have no position on this bill, I said explicitly I don't know enough about this bill.  My position is everyone has a right to affordable coverage.  In a comment above, I said that my preferred model right now (non expert that I am) is explicitly free market.
 
If it was not addressed to me, ignore.
Chris Seeber
7 years 12 months ago
Steph
No one is forced to buy auto insurance.  You can choose to walk.  Also, and here is the big distiction, driving and auto insurance is not a basic human right!  Access to health care is!  Question, if you believe in what I said how can you support this bill if not out of blind allegeance or willful ignorance?
 
One post script question since you will not or cannot answer any of my other questions:  You state, ''Why on earth should someone who works 60 hour weeks cobbling together part time jobs not be able to afford basic health care? ''  I ask again, how does this bill help?  Let me geuss, he is forced to a private insurance company, under penalty of law, to buy a policy.  Where is the social justice in that?
 
 
S Bond
7 years 12 months ago
Ugh, Chris, I never said I supported this bill.  I said I agreed with much of what you wrote.  I didn't answer your other questions because I assumed you wanted them answered by someone who supports the bill.
 
Did you even read my comment through before replying?  This is very frustrating. 
John Hayes
7 years 12 months ago
Repeating my post from elsewhere:
Mark quotes: “A review of the Senate language indicates a dramatic shift in federal policy that would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage” -Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich)"
Both the House and Senate versions allow the government to provide a subsidy to people who buy health insurance that pays for elective abortions. The amount of the subsidy is the same whether or not elective abortion coverage is provided.
The House bill, requires buying two different policies. The Senate bill requires making two different payments.
Is that difference enough to justify rejecting a bill that will provide health insurance to 31 million poor people who have no health insurance now?
I don't believe so.
Please note that both plans provide that there will always be a plan available that does not include elective abortion coverage
Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
John you are patently wrong again, abd you and Winters still apparently see no difference between the Senate and House bills on abortion..  The House version specifically and totally prevents ANY federal subsidy to a plan that covers abortion.  If someone goes out and gets coverage separately it is SEPARATE and the federal government, paid by us, has NOTHING to do with it. 
 
The Senate bill MAKES SURE there is aborton coverage (the things Winters calls "riders").  Now Kathleen Sebelius points out another obvious difference, which she thinks is praiseworthy because it is pro-abortion:  in the Senate version, "everybody in the exchange would do the same thing, whether you’re male or female, whether you’re 75 or 25, you would all set aside a portion of your premium that would go into a fund" for abortion.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCmFFDyDrv8&feature=player_embedded 
 
EVERYONE in the exchange pays for abortion in the Senate version.  This is IMPOSSIBLE in the House version, since abortion coverage would only come through the abortion-insured person.  Yet in the Senate version, not only do we have federal funding to plans that cover abortion, the federal government takes it upon itself to FORCE A BROAD SWATH OF PEOPLE TO PAY FOR OTHER PEOPLE'S ABORTIONS.  
 
The fact not only of payment for others' abortions but federally mandated payment  illustrates the degree to which the Senate version constitutes Federal Abortion Promotion, while the House version continues the federal tradition of staying OUT of abortion insurance. 
Tony Annett
7 years 12 months ago
JSB seems confused about subsidiarity. For many on the American right, it is equivalent to "small government". This is completely wrong. In some cases, the national level is the appropriate level for decision making. (Indeed, for some issues - like military decisions - the appropriate level is even broader, the suprnational level).

There are many good arguments why healthcare is best treated at the national level. For a start, it maximizes the risk pool and supports solidarity. Remember, subsidiarity without solidarity is utterly sterile. Subsidiarity also allows for interactions at the same level. The Exchanges will make sure that people cannot be exploited by the insurance companies as they are today in the individual market. Here's something I cannot understand - why do people invoke subsidiarity against a government role in healthcare and not against a healthcare system dominated by a few large unregulated private insurers, that are allowed to refuse and drop coverage at a whim?

This position is not controversial in most of the Catholic world. Cardinal Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that, on healthcare "everywhere in the world it is a concern of the government first of all, and after there are possibilities also on the private sector, but those who are without anything… the central government must provide to that". Abp. Marx of Munich and Freisling, friend of the pope, spoke in favor of "a welfare state that works: insurance for the unemployed, benefits for those laid off, support for those with odd jobs, public health care." This is all uncontroversial....except in Calvinist USA!
James Lindsay
7 years 12 months ago
The abortion issues will be worked out in conference.  If there is something outstanding, it will be dealt with.  Of course, I must reiterate, that we all pay for the abortions of others, as well as whatever healthcare they now get, every day.  The abortion piece is so remote, it need not be a concern for any one taxpayer.  Indeed, even without Hyde, providing health care to the working poor will likely prevent more abortions than this funding would make possible.
If you really want the working poor to not resort to abortion, make sure that everyone (not just homeowners) get a housing subidy by ending the mortgage interest and property tax deductions and expanding the Child Tax Credit to $500 per child per month (payable with salary) with a $12 per hour minimum wage and expanded paid education benefits for any who lose their job in the transition.  Also, take college costs out of the hands of parents and shift them to employers.  You will hardly find anyone having an abortion if you do these things.
In other words, put your money where your mouth is on abortion or shut up.
James Lindsay
7 years 12 months ago
Steph, the Bishops did endorse the bill in the pipeline as long as abortion is dealt with.  The fact that NRLC has temporary sidetracked them means that there will likely be some discussions over the holiday.  In the end, the conference will accept language that the bishops will endorse it. I am sure there is much fun at the USCCB right now.  I suspect Dennis Johnson will get his comeuppance soon - especially after last week's pathetic stunt.
James Lindsay
7 years 12 months ago
One final thought for this morning.  Given the importance of this issue, I suspect Rome will get involved in this issue on both sides.  Given Caritas in Veritate, I suspect that His Holiness will come down on Obama's side.
NRLC, Burke, Chaput and company should keep their heads down if they don't want them smacked.
S Bond
7 years 12 months ago
Wow, Brett.  This bill aside, I can't believe any Christian would argue that access to affordable health care is not a right.
Go talk to the working families who can't afford health coverage and tell them they have no right to affordable care.
Smacks of ''I've got mine'' libertarianism. 
 
Chris Seeber
7 years 12 months ago
Could someone answer these questions:  If health care is a right, why am I punished for not buying an insurance policy?  If private insurance is the problem why am I forced, by the government, to buy a policy from a private company?  Do I have to pay for my right to vote?  If not why should I pay for my right to health care?  When else, under the penalty of law, am I forced to buy something on the private market from a private company?  How does taxing a “Cadillac health plan,” the just compensation of many jobs from auto workers to teachers (bargained for in good faith, in lieu of just pay raises) do anything to help the uninsured?  Why does the richest demographic of our country (the elderly) and those who use the most health care not required to pay more for their health care?  Where’s the justice in that?  We are told by the author to accept this sellout, special interest, backroom, favoritism plan on the word “IF” no thank you! 
I would opine health care reform should do two things:  Reduce health care costs and Grant full access to health care or health insurance to those uninsured (yes, that includes the unborn and illegal immigrants).  Anyone disagree or feel somethings missing please note.  How does this bill do either?  Specifics please!  If it doesn’t, why support it?  On the word “if?”  Again, no thank you!
One final note:  If you’re from a state with a democratic senator and he didn’t “hold out” for millions of dollars in pork and special interest money that Senator is a chump as are you for voting for him!
Jeff Bagnell
7 years 12 months ago
Well said.  There is nothing Christian about socialism, our tax dollars going directly or indirectly to the killing of innocent human beings, or creeping central control of our lives.  Remember the principal of subsidiarity?  I haven't heard America's take on that lately.
Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
Michael Bindner thinks that everyone should shut up about murder, and other human rights abuses I suppose, unless and until he determines it's ok for them to speak.  Typical liberal tolerance at work.
 
"The abortion issues will be worked out in conference."  Yes, meaning the Senate's abortion increase and mandate of federal and citizen involvement in abortion will be imposed as the final bill, take it or leave it.  Which means people who claim to be opposed to abortion can either oppose this final bill, or just admit that being Democrats is more important to them than being pro-life Catholics.  Anyone now claiming that it's OK to support the bill anyway is admitting that they don't care about preborn children (and that everybody should shut up about human rights abuses that aren't in their partisan portfolio).
Michael Liddy
7 years 12 months ago
Temporary Restriction – No enforcement unless the DHHS Annual Budget Bill includes a restriction on federal funding of abortion for Medicaid (Hyde is not permanent). I don’t find that comforting at all. We have a President and a Congress who just worked together to pass a bill to fund abortions in the District of Columbia with federal dollars and another bill to fund abortions oversees with federal dollars. I don’t think it is responsible for any Catholic to turns a blind eye to that and support this bill, based on where we are being taken on abortion funding. I mean, aren’t we all going to have blood on our hands when we start paying for the abortions for those 30 million newly insured.
James Lindsay
7 years 12 months ago
The way to stop abortion murder is to pass health care, as well as those other things I suggested.  No other method will really work.  Most Catholics know this and they voted for Obama.
On the DC issue, the removal of the Hyde abortion rider was about local control, not abortion.  The right to life movement can work in DC, where there are quite a few conservative pastors, just like it works in other jurisdictions.  The dirty little secret of Hyde in DC is that for most of its history, abortions were covered by the medical charities fund.  The control board stopped this for a while, but I suspect that such a prohibition was a temporary matter.  This is not much covered.
Hyde does not really prevent many abortions.  In states where abortion is mostly available it is mostly funded locally.  In states where it is not funded locally, abortion services are not readily available anyway.  Federal employees, who are also covered under Hyde, mostly pay cash for abortion services, just like most people with insurance. 
This all leads me to conclude that all the shouting about abortion is about Catholic identity politics rather than actually protecting the unborn.  The only way to protect the unborn is to make life better for the working poor - and that includes passing this bill.
Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
Bindner that was a pathetic defense of giving away child-murder on demand for free to all women in DC, as Obama just did.  For years Congress has had a law preventing it.  Now thanks to Obama they are free and government-paid.  "Local control" indeed.  You and similar abortion-friendly Catholic liberals continue to dispute the universally agreed-to evidence that the lack of abortion coverage in Medicaid has prevented hundreds of thousands if not millions of abortions.  Those abortions are about to enter open season under Obamacare, thanks to Catholics who support Obama and are betraying Bart Stupak.
Michael Liddy
7 years 12 months ago
Mr. Bindner wrote "On the DC issue, the removal of the Hyde abortion rider was about local control, not abortion." This statement is about the DC federal funding bill but it is represenatative of the problem we are having with this healthcare bill. Catholics are willing to make every excuse to support legislation that funds abortion that they don't even realize how far they have strayed. The current default position is that the federal government is prohibited from using our taxes to purchase insurance policies that cover abortion (except for DC Funding). The new default position (in the Senate bill) is that the Federal government will use our taxes to purchase $5,000 to 10,000 insurance policies that cover abortion, with a temporary rule that the insured pays the $12 abortion part. And that separation of funds is only tentative, as it rests of the renewal of the Hyde Amendment every year by a separate Congress and different Presidents.
Michael Liddy
7 years 12 months ago
One more thing. I would like to hear Mr. Winters's response to Matt Bowman's statement below (I think it is about time he explained away his politician-like change of course and also that he responded to the many NRLC posts that responded to his nasty attack with factual, accurate information).

Matt Bowman wrote "June 14, on this page, you PROMISED to oppose federal funding of abortion health plans and to oppose the politicians who enact it. http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?id=87352873-3048-741E-9131977572051964 You said "if the President or my representatives in Congress support federal funding for abortion in any way, shape or form, I will never vote for them again and I might risk my right hand in the next election by voting for their opponent."
Think Catholic
7 years 12 months ago
Thank you Mr. Liddy.  Allow me to note my own error-the date was July 14, not June 14.  Otherwise I too wish a response, especially with respect to Mr. Winters' interpretation of "any way, shape or form," the Senate plan's imposition of abortion surcharges on exchange members, and HRSA's ability to mandate abortion as "preventive".  The House plan kept the government out of funding abortion insurance, period.  Abortion insurance under that regime could truly be called separate.  The Senate plan puts the government into the business of funding and even guaranteeing abortion insurance, a quantum leap forward for abortion.

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