The Exchange Is Not Worth The Stupak Amendment

Will the Village Wonk bloggers try and explain why a progressive should not accept the removal of the Exchange from the health care "reform" bill in order to avoid the consequences of Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak's insistence on the Stupak Amendment? So quick to jettison the public option, will they be as eager to say good bye to the Exchange? Ben Nelson makes the question a pressing one:

The defeat of his amendment would be politically significant because Nelson has pledged to vote with Republicans to filibuster the health bill if it did not include the Stupak language. [. . .] Stupak’s measure would restrict women who receive federal subsidies from buying abortion coverage on insurance exchanges set up by the government.

Remove the Exchange and the Stupak Amendment has no reason to exist. Who will stand in the way of this "practical" and "pragmatic" solution? After all, the Exchange is so limited as to be "meaningless," even if you believe in its magic "reform" powers. I call on the Village Wonk bloggers to be grownups about this - let go of the Exchange.

Speaking for me only

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    Since Stupak is a poison pill for exchanges... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by lambert on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 12:42:24 PM EST
    ... drop the exchanges. In fact, drop all the Rube Goldberg crapola that doesn't kick in 'til 2013 and 2014, pass ONLY what helps people immediately, declare victory, and reboot. So what if the insurance companies don't get a bailout?

    nothing in this POS (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 06:23:42 PM EST
    Insurance company protection act is worth the stupak amendment. Trading away the privacy and autonomy of more than half the population to make the minority happy is insane in any democracy..... but of course that only counts if you believe women are people and not incubators.

    To Hell With Women (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by norris morris on Sun Dec 06, 2009 at 06:54:00 PM EST
    Why not use Stupak to shaft women? If we Dems can get SOMETHING, even crapola, it's worth it. Something's got to give so why can't it be women's rights?

    Who gives a s**t?

    Our deplorable Congress both Dems and Repubs have sunk to depths heretofore unknown.

    Add the White House to the audacity it takes to turn back decades of progress regarding women's reproductive rights.  The hubris and devious cunning do not escape us ladies.

    Obama and Pelosi did NOTHING.  Stupak shows the weakness and willingness to use a major moral issue into a political bargaining tool.

    I submit that this humiliating and reactionary Amendment will go down hard against the Democrats and the Party.  The final bill has to be a piece of garbage as everything important to holding costs down [PO, Drug Negotiation] is gone.

    So to hell with women, and let 'em eat cake.


    This may get lost here, but (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Anne on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 09:10:35 PM EST
    it's relevant:

    Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson held up introducing his amendment to tighten restrictions on federal funding for abortion to give Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and the Catholic bishops more time to review it, reports CQ's Alex Wayne.

    Wayne reports (subscription required):

    But Nelson decided later Thursday to hold off after Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, said he thought that the measure was being rushed to the floor. Hatch had expected to be the lead sponsor of the amendment, and he said he thought it was "discourteous" that Nelson was preparing -- apparently at the behest of his leadership -- to call up the amendment without Hatch's consent.

    Nelson said that the amendment's language was not finished, and that groups opposed to abortion -- notably the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- needed more time to review it. Additional time, he added, might lead to greater bipartisan support.

    Unless Nelson and Hatch depart significantly from Stupak's language, their amendment has little chance of adoption. The Stupak language would prohibit the public option from covering most abortions and would forbid private insurers to offer plans covering elective abortion to people who buy them using federal subsidies.

    I don't care what kind of chance the amendment has, Ben Nelson needs to go, and so does the influence of the Catholic Church.

    Throwing this out to the gallery (none / 0) (#1)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 03:55:31 PM EST
    is single payer worth the Stupak Amendment?

    I truly do not understand why these (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 10:20:23 PM EST
    kinds of choices are still being floated, even just for the sake of argument, some eleven months after this whole process started.  Or at all. really.

    It's as if no one in the Democratic party, or in Congress - save for a precious few who have been trying to get single-payer some attention for years -  had even given more than a passing thought to formulating a plan to reform the health care system until their eyes popped open on January 20, 2009.  Here we've been waiting for a majority and for the WH for years, and one would think that we would have been prepared, would have known, exactly what it was we wanted to do.  And how we would do it, how we would sell it, how we would make it happen.

    And when you combine that with the oft-cited comments of Illinois legislator Barack Obama that once we took the House and took the Senate and took the Oval Office we could initiate a single-payer plan in this country, what you have is absolutely no excuse and no reason why we have spent the last eleven months engaged in Olympic-quality dithering, pandering, posturing, capitulating and obfuscating.

    Would I accept Stupak if it was attached to single-payer?  That's like asking if I would accept a winning lottery ticket if it meant someone I loved or cared about would suffer a terrible calamity.

    Hell, no.


    Well sure (none / 0) (#8)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 10:51:10 PM EST
    I dunno that I would make that tradeoff either.  And thus we identify a pretty big problem with pursuing single-payer.

    It's not a single payer issue (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by nycstray on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 02:50:55 AM EST
    it's a religious issue. And it needs to stop.

    Well, no, the biggest problem (none / 0) (#9)
    by Cream City on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 12:01:08 AM EST
    with pursuing single-payer is that you are not in Congress or the White House.

    When someone in Congress or the White House pursues it, let's have a post on it, so that we can comment on something that could happen.  Otherwise, why?

    Might as well talk about the Packers winning the Super Bowl.  Actually, that has a higher probability than a single-payer bill.


    Well (none / 0) (#15)
    by Steve M on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 01:32:22 PM EST
    there are of course people in Congress pursuing single-payer, just not enough of them.  But it's clear that people would prefer to brush aside the deeper issue here, so I'll leave it alone.

    Single Payer??????????? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by norris morris on Sun Dec 06, 2009 at 07:26:41 PM EST
    There is no possibility of single payer and you know it. Either you're a troll, or just ill informed.

    A bad bill is a bill that penalizes any group and removes their rights.

    A real single payer bill cannot happen at this point if you read the current House Bill and are aware of Obama's deal with Drug Monopoly.  I am not even discussing what the Senate Dems and Repubs have sliced and diced out of it so far.

    No bill should infringe on women's constitutional rights with regard to having access to equal protection under the law.  Roe v Wade decided ths.  If a healthcare reform bill that adopts restrictive measures against women we will see thousands of backroom abortions, late stage abortion deaths due to  not addressing maternal health issuues, and needless suffering and death on many many levels.

    In fact any amendment that would deny men of their rights to prostate tests, circumcision,etc.,
    and other equal protections should nullify any healthcare bill.

    Single Payer or Healthcare Option are only worth the morality it takes to shape a really good bill that affords everyone good Healthcare.  In most of the civilized world Healthcare is a given right and bartering for or against anyone's rights to that equal protection is unthinkable.

    We remain a country torn to pieces by corporate greed that allows our body parts to be bartered as political objects.  We remain a country that cannot create a program that protects its citizens as all other countries do.

    Because?  Because cash is King.


    Great question (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 04:01:26 PM EST
    When we are actually faced with it, let me know.

    The EXCHANGE certainly is not reform in the way single payer is so it really is an easy call isn't it Steve?

    Single payer would make you think about it no? Hell, the public option does if you want to be REAL about it.

    But if you want top play silly games, single payer works so much better.

    Back in the real world where we are having tis discussion - it is the EXCHANGES which cause the problem.

    What is your answer to the ACTUAL question we face, as opposed to your lawyer's question?


    not as pressing (none / 0) (#3)
    by CST on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 04:14:28 PM EST
    when you factor in a Collins and Snowe - who have both been making positive noises lately about HCR.

    I doubt the exchanges will send them running either.  It's more of a Stupak/Public Option question than anything else.


    Exactly. And this is what I said (none / 0) (#4)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 05:01:03 PM EST
    to Feingold a while ago:  What is proposed is not worth the Stupak Amendment.  And again, as noted here a while ago, he essentially said the same (after the usual artful pol demurrals about not knowing what would be before him, etc.) -- and said it strongly.

    Btw, re another comment on an earlier thread, I got an email from his office that Feingold will be addressing Afghanistan on the Sunday morning talk show circuit.  With what he has said for some time about Afghanistan, we will see if he finds his artful way to essentially opposing Obama's plan.


    The problem is that the (none / 0) (#5)
    by my opinion on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 07:24:14 PM EST
    actual question we face is BS.

    I think I agree with you (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 09:16:21 PM EST
    I wonder if you are serious that I asked a great question.

    The world in which single-payer is on the table (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 06:10:52 AM EST
    is by its very nature a word in which Stupac is off the table. So I doubt we will ever face tat question.

    I also doubt that Exchanges for Stupac is really a question on the table either. Obama loves the exchanges. They are the only thing he has been firm on from the beginning. Not coincidentally, the insurance companies seem to love them too. I myself would trade them for just about anything. I don't think they will help real people much, if at all.


    To clarify, by 'from the beginning' (none / 0) (#12)
    by ruffian on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 06:12:29 AM EST
    I mean the beginning of the current process in the spring, not the heady days of yore when Obama said nice things about single-payer.

    He's also firm on electronic medical records (none / 0) (#14)
    by lambert on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 12:44:35 PM EST
    Which also can't be shown to work, but that would be the feature, since the contractors get to bill a lot more.

    peddling conventional, substance-less, wisdom (none / 0) (#17)
    by catchy on Sat Dec 05, 2009 at 08:59:54 PM EST
    that benefits the insurance industry.

    What did the left do to deserve Klein and yglesias et al.?