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Text of the Executive Order on Abortion Funding

Here's the text of the Executive Order on abortion funding that Rep. Stupak finds acceptable enough to change his health care vote. Key points:

The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges.

The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014.

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Lindsey Graham's Latest Threat: No Immigration Reform if Health Care Passes

Sen. Lindsey Graham is feeling his oats. His constituents ought to send him back to pasture. His latest: He threatens that if the health care bill passes, there will be no immigration reform this year.

“The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform. If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year,” Graham said in a statement blast-emailed to the Washington press corps.

Graham's influence over the detainee trials and Guantanamo is going to his head. The Dems should refuse to listen to him.

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Lieberman Says No To Health Care Bill

Sen. Joe Lieberman says the Medicare buy-in and public option mean he's voting against the health care bill.

A Senate Democratic aide, flummoxed by Mr. Lieberman’s stance, said, “It was a total flip-flop and leaves us in a predicament as to what to do.”

What would it take for Lieberman to change his mind?

“You’ve got to take out the Medicare buy-in,” he said. “You’ve got to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the Class Act [long term care provisions], which was a whole new entitlement program that will, in future years, put us further into deficit.”

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Details of Public Option for Lowered Medicare Age Tradeoff

Here's some details on the upcoming deal to lower the age of Medicare and drop the public option.

Under the potential trade-off with party moderates, near-retirees beginning at age 55 or 60 who lack affordable insurance would be permitted to purchase coverage under Medicare, which generally provides medical care beginning at 65. Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor, would be open to all comers under 300 percent of poverty, or slightly over $66,000 for a family of four.

So, it's only for those over 55 without affordable insurance. What does that mean? How many people is that? Why can't all people over 55 get it?

Sen. Mark Udall and ten other freshman senators who have drafted an "amendment package" will be holding a press conference tomorrow. Udall will be one of those speaking on the Senate floor.

The Republican effort to reject the Medicare cuts in the bill failed today. [More...]

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Senate to Begin Health Care Debate Monday

The Senate will begin debating the health care bill Monday.

The New York Times today has a long editorial on why it should pass, and opines the limited public option should not be an impediment:

Even a weak public plan would be better than no public plan. It would expand the choices available to millions of Americans and could help slow the relentless increases in the cost of health insurance.

It also lays out what the public option would and would not do in both the House and Senate versions.

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Dems Express Willingness to Alter Public Option

Are Democrats really willing to forego the public option? Sounds like it.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber's second-ranking Democrat, acknowledged he was open to changing the bill's controversial government-run public health insurance option favored by the left."We are open because we want to pass the bill," Durbin told the NBC program "Meet the Press."

Now what? Nate Silver says progressives should give it up, it's not that big a deal anyway and reconciliation could lead to other good provisions being stripped. Jon at Firedoglake disagrees. And FDL's Jane Hamsher explains the progressive reasoning behind choosing the public option as a fighting point. [More...]

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Health Care Bill Voting Today: What It Isn't

While Sen. Harry Reid has 60 votes for tonight's vote, you have to read the fine print to know what it means and doesn't mean. It's not a vote on the health care bill, but only a vote on whether debate can begin on it.

[T]his vote simply says that the Senate is prepared to have a debate on the bill. From here, the bill will be discussed and possibly amended. Then Reid must find another sixty votes to end the debate, and then he'll need at least 51 Senators who want to vote the final product up. Clearly his work is far from over.

CNN: [More...]

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Fix Needed for State Opt-Out Provision of Public Option

McJoan at Daily Kos explains what needs to be fixed in the Senate version of the public option in the health care bill: It's the date on which the states can opt out. First,

There's no requirement of a waiting period before states can opt out, which in this political environment means the battle is taken directly to the states, because insurers will have until 2014 to get state legislatures to pass those laws. That could lead to as much as a third of country being left out, according to CBO estimates [pdf] (h/t Jon Walker).

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Senate Bill Contains "Facelift Tax"

The Wall St. Journal reports the new Senate health care bill imposes a 5% tax on receipients of elective plastic surgery.

The tax would fall on the individuals who undergo the procedures. If they don’t pay it when they’re billed for their surgery, then it falls to the provider who performed the procedure.

Who gets the most plastic surgery? It's not the young.

Then there's the tax on "Cadillac health plans" defined as health care plans with premiums over $8,500 a year. The insurer pays it, but to recoup it, won't they just reduce benefits the plan provides? Anthem already sent out a letter that when renewed, my plan will no longer cover 100% of prescriptions. I bet this tax on Cadillac plans results in the plans becoming Chevys. [More...]

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Here's the New Senate Health Care Bill

Here's the text of the new Senate Health Care Reform Bill. The Washington Post reports here. Via Huffington Post:

Reid's bill includes a national, government-run insurance plan that would be available to consumers within the health insurance exchanges that the reform effort establishes. States could opt out of the plan.

On abortion: [More...]

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Stupak is a Radical Change

Mother Jones: Why Stupak is more radical than you think.

The two parts to the Stupak amendment:

The Stupak amendment mandates that no federal funds can be used to pay for an abortion or "cover any part of any health plan" that includes coverage of an abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.

Part 1 is just the Hyde Amendment. But, part 2?

Where pro-lifers won big was on the second part, which could significantly limit the availability of private insurance plans that cover the procedure. That’s because Stupak’s amendment doesn’t just apply to the public option—the lower-cost plan to be offered by the government.

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How About Pre-Natal and Birth Care for Pregnant Undocumented Women?

A child born in the U.S. is an American citizen, even if his or her mother is an undocumented resident. That's a given under the Constitution. Since anti-choicers and those willing to put extra restrictions on health insurance based on gender, like those who voted for the Stupak Amendment, believe life begins at conception, how can they justify a health care bill that denies coverage, particularly pre-natal care and birth benefits, to undocumented or out-of-status pregnant women?

Ideally, the final health care bill should not prevent benefits to the undocumented at all. No human being is illegal. But, since some form of denial is present in both the House and Senate bills, at the very least, an exception should be made in the final bill for those who are pregnant. [More....]

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Stupak: Amendment Passes on Recorded Vote, 64 Dems Voted For It


Update: Stupak passes, only 1 present vote (Shadegg)because the anti-choicers said they'd score a present vote as a no vote. Final vote: 240 to 194, 1 present. Who are the 64 Dems who voted for the wire coat hanger amendment? The roll call vote is here. Shame on Colorado Rep. John Salazar, brother of former Sen. Ken Salazar.

Update: Reps. Diana DeGette and Louise Slaughter, co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, issue this statement:

“Placing onerous new restrictions on a woman’s right to choose sets a terrible precedent and marks a significant step backwards. This effort will effectively ban abortion coverage in all plans, both private and public – marking a significant scaling back of the options offered under existing laws. Such a terrible, last minute amendment to a critical, historic piece of legislation is a shame. This kind of outrageous interference in health care by the government marks a sad day in this struggle and will result in women across America losing the right to health care.”
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Stupak: A Pac With Seven Stupid People

Update: If the line is busy when you call, Tweet Your Rep.

The Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Kaptur-Dahlkemper-Lipinski-Smith Amendment, to the health care reform bill (H.R. 3962)is being voted on today. Reportedly, it prevents federal funding of abortion and health insurance plans which include abortion coverage(Hyde Amendment). Supposedly, it will not affect coverage of abortion in non-subsidized health plans, and will not bar anyone from purchasing a supplemental abortion policy with their own funds. [More...]

Planned Parenthood breaks it down. At 2pm (ET), the House just began four more hours of debate on the bill.

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On Insurance Company Premium Rate Hikes

Back in May, before any health care reform legislation was introduced, I wrote about Anthem/Blue Cross's employer rate hike in Colorado based on a law passed in 2007 preventing companies from charging unhealthy groups more than healthy groups. My premium (as a member of an employer healthy group)went up $240. a month.

Today, the Denver Post reports the same. What's more, Anthem is planning on raising employer rates an average of 12.5% next year. [More...]

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