Despite the jubilation on Nancy Pelosi’s face as she announced the result of the House vote on the health care bill late Saturday night, there are rumors that all is not well with the reform effort.
Diligence or Delay Tactics? According to NPR sources, the Senate leader Harry Reid is preparing the ground for a long offensive. He is suggesting that the Senate will not easily pass a bill and that it could be next year before the work has been completed and a vote taken.
This is not what the millions of uninsured want to hear. President Obama was elected substantially on his mantra of change. Delay is not change, this is politics as normal. The President and his supporters must be disappointed. I wouldn’t want to be a Senator up for re-election if I were found to have caused an unnecessary delay in passing a health care bill.
Death Panels – No, I kid you not. Last weekend our friendly former governor from Alaska was back on Facebook propagating her belief that death panels will sit in judgment upon us. Unfortunately, even if the good woman has a point to make it is lost in the media scrum to go over the whole sordid events of last summer again. Trouble is that she is extremely influential.
Even as she lambasts the House for passing a bill, she has many supporters that will make the life of their Senator a living hell. Maybe they will want to get an early start for the panels! No matter what, those that can influence this Senate debate will be targeted and will target others to ensure that the debate runs its full course. Full debate, yes. Partisan politics, no.
Abortion Rights – A very sensitive issue at the center of much of the debate over this plan. The compromise reached in the House was to put into law the rolling amendment that disallows federal funding for abortions. It went further and bans the federally funded insurance program proposed within the bill to offer abortions.
This might have made the Catholic Church happy – generally supportive of the principal of extending health care provisions this was a sop to gain support for the legislation. Equally furious, as the bishops are happy, abortion rights supporters will undoubtedly mobilize to try to get this amendment excluded from the Senate bill.
Undocumented Workers – Illegal immigrants will not qualify for federal support to gain health care through a "public option." Now the House has passed an amendment that prohibits them from enrolling in the public option. There is no evidence that this will provide anything other than a victory for immigration leery politicians.
The truth of the matter is that health care is health care and for an illegal immigrant to have to go to the ER for care is hardly making progress. It will cost more to provide the care, take up time that could be given to patients that need emergency care and ultimately (and ironically) the care will have been subsidized with federal funds provided exactly for the purpose. The Senate will have to make a choice about which way it wants to go. Perhaps, less sensitive than the House, the Senate may not include the amendment in bill.
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