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Health Care Free For All

–updated–

“It may not happen in my lifetime, or Dick Cheney’s, but hopefully by Easter. … “I found Rahm. I created him. I made him what he is today. I am so sorry.” – President William Jefferson Clinton (at Gridiron Dinner)

“There is no deal yet,” according to Major Garrett, with Rep. Bart Stupak. Politico is reporting that Stupak is a “yes.” That’s the way reporting goes today. Garret also reports that the White House does not believe an executive order is necessary (UPDATE (4:10 pm): here is the text, which has been agreed upon, bringing Rep. Stupak and others to the yeah column – Dems now have the votes, plus a “pad”). However, if Speaker Pelosi says it’s required to meet 216 “or to pad that number a little bit,” Pres. Obama is willing to further appease the Stupak pack. Reports are that the language being floated for the executive order is being received favorably, but that the anti abortion House pack may want it sent forward before giving their vote.

The finale, that Obama is considering an executive order on abortion is not only unnecessary, but also creates yet another political football regarding abortion. A Democratic majority and President, aided by the first female Speaker of the House, once again moved the marker on abortion, doing so willingly. It sets up what is similar to the Global Gag Order, which seesaws back and forth between every Democratic and Republican administrations, only if Obama’s executive order manifests, instead it puts pressure on subsequent president’s to sign it or start another cultural war. Obama and the Democratic majority have played the abortion issue stupidly, emboldening the conservatives in the Democratic Party, while marginalizing progressives, who have been squeezed.

Incredibly, as you’ll see in the video here, Megyn Kelly asks Garrett how an executive order would change the fact that women could pay for an abortion with a separate check. This so called analysis is stunning, Kelly asking how the presidential order will change the two-check factor. Evidently Ms. Kelly wants women who get health coverage through the exchanges to not even be able to purchase reproductive services like abortion with their own money. Is she misinformed to think Democrats are going to ban abortion through health care? Embarrassing analysis from a professional woman on Fox that is inexcusable on facts alone.

Republicans are saying all sorts of things about the current health care bill. Sen. Lamar Alexander say that “if it does pass, it would be a historic mistake.” Even as bad as the current Democratic bill is, and it’s bad, the effort by Democrats isn’t a mistake. This country desperately needs health care reform, but this bill isn’t reform, it’s simply an expansion of the current system with onerous demands on the public to pay for it. If Republicans were honest they’d admit that if they were in charge they’d be forced to enact some sort of health care “reform,” with tort reform likely leading the way. In fact, I bet their candidate for 2012 will pledge to do just that. Still, no matter how bad the bill, at least Democrats made an effort at changing the status quo.

Unfortunately, Pres. Barack Obama didn’t use his presidency, his considerable rhetorical gifts, or his political heft until a full year into the debate. The most gifted politician, beyond Bill Clinton when he was at his best, one can only imagine the health care package we could have had if he’d put all his muscle into what was actually needed from the start. We’ll never know, because he simply didn’t have the courage or the sense of purpose until everything started to fall apart.

Today we’re left to follow the bouncing headlines. Stupak is a “yes,” but… maybe not. Fox News reports “he’s still a no for now.” Obviously, Mr. Stupak thinks he can squeeze Pres. Obama for more. Never mind that there is no funding of abortion in the current bill, Mr. Stupak wants more, with the Democratic leadership willing to kowtow to the minority even at this late date.

Another headline flashes, the Democrats have 216, then comes no, they don’t yet.

The next headline… The Pro-Choice Caucus won’t take any further prohibiting language on women’s rights; then we hear they’ll accept an executive order that simply repeats what’s already in the current bill.

The only thing we know for sure is that later today, at around 8:30 pm eastern time, the House will assemble to vote on the final piece of health care reform. When it passes, it then it goes to the Senate.

No doubt, it’s exciting for Democrats to be on the cusp of 216 votes to move health care legislation forward, regardless of how bad a bill it is. I know long-time Democrats who have been working on this their whole lives. They’re nervous, excited and disappointed, because they know all too well this bill isn’t enough, while also knowing Obama and the Democratic leadership didn’t go for what was actually possible.

When the Democrats make history in the House today, it won’t change that reality.

Meanwhile, the public still prefers the public option over what Democrats are offering. It proves both political parties are not listening to the people, but actually believe they won’t pay a price for ignoring you.

So, as historic as passing health care is, the fact that Democrats are doing it with a bill that the majority of Americans don’t want, compared to the public option, is truly an astonishing underachievement.

However, when compared to what Republicans offered up at this moment in American history, which was absolutely no contributions whatsoever, Democrats come out ahead.

They’re still unlikely to be rewarded in November.

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