Saturday, November 07, 2009

House health care reform bill passes

Today the house passed an historic health care reform bill.

The roll-call vote is right here.

The debate was fluid during the day. At one point Bart Stupak (D-MI) pushed through an amendment that will ban a public option from paying for abortions. This is clearly an anti-choice amendment (after all private insurance companies routinely cover abortion) but it also had the effect of forcing Stupak and several other anti-choice Democrats to support the bill once the amendment was included and counting the votes at that moment Pelosi pounced and pushed for a vote on the whole bill.

The vote was 220-215 in favor of the bill. However, as Lyndon Johnson once said he liked winning with small margins because then he knew he'd gotten everything out of it that he could. Pelosi got the votes of 219 Democrats, one more than she needed, and an unexpected gift-- one Republican who braved the wrath of John Boehner and voted for the bill (Anh Cao, R-LA, who represents an overwhelmingly Democratic district and got elected at all last year mainly because his opponent was corrupt congressman Willie 'cold cash' Jefferson.) After voting with the party line on the stimulus as Boehner tried to prevent any display at all of bipartisanship, apparently being asked to go against the wishes of his constituents again was too much for Cao.

I'm not thrilled with the Stupak amendment, but strategically it makes sense-- given the closeness of the vote it is entirely possible that the whole vote could have failed without Stupak and his compatriots. And as the debate moves forward to the much tougher Senate phase at least the Stupak amendment cuts off one line of attack for the right.

However, all in all, this is a good day.


sandyh said...

It was a good day.

Let's hope that Reid can learn from Pelosi and find cracks in the opposition that can be bridged with some small concessions. I'd rather have a trigger or opt-out than not have the public option in the bill at all.

The only way to stop special interests is to have a threat hanging over their head. If the primary objective today is get everyone covered while instituting much needed efficiencies to keep the costs down, the best hammer to use is the threat of a public option.

Just the threat could give us multiple benefits in the long-term. Let's get it written into law and worry about how we use it later.

I can't help but believe that the greedy and incompetent on the conservatives side won't be able not to trip a trigger or have to opt-in at a later date. Their chronic mismanagement of anything they are put in charge of will do them in.

They really don't know how to do anything right. I would be content with a scenario whereby they do it to themselves. It's not my first preference. but it will do for now.

As long as its Republican politicians not industry aces who are the ones who must perform, we should be in good shape.

Eli Blake said...

We may have to settle for a 'trigger' since without Lieberman it may be necessary to go back to Olympia Snowe.

Well, if that be the case then so be it. Just make sure the trigger is very clear so they can't fudge it later and claim it hasn't been triggered when it actually has.