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Ben Nelson proposes Stupak language for the Senate health bill


Ben Nelson has released his "Stupak-like" amendment to the Senate bill. You can read it here. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she doesn't think it'll pass. That's probably right. But as Jeff Young reports, even if the amendment fails, it doesn't mean the abortion question is settled in the bill. It just means there will have to be a whole compromise process on that, too. And with the retrograde Stupak language anchoring the debate, and supporters celebrating its apparent defeat, the "compromise" is likely to be pretty far to the right.

Photo credit: By Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

By Ezra Klein  |  December 7, 2009; 2:50 PM ET
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The pro-life-until-after-birth movement should send a big Thank You card to NARAL and Planned Parenthood for completely falling down on the job. They could also send some to Rahm Emanuelle and the DNC for bringing these morons into the party.

I might understand Ben Nelson, a Senator from NEBRASKA. Someone needs to explain to me why we need people like Dan Lipinski, a representative from northeast ILLINOIS.

Posted by: bcbulger | December 7, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

This is starting to feel like Black Monday, between your updates and C-Span coverage of the "debates".

Posted by: onewing1 | December 7, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Democracy is really stupid sometimes.

Posted by: NS12345 | December 7, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm convinced the White House introduced this Stupak thing to try to split progressives. Long term, abortion rights are under threat because the country is becoming more conservative, but for now their are simply too many hard core pro-choice Democrats in the Senate for anything like this to ever pass. But by all means let's fret about it, and talk about what we'd be willing to give up in exchange for preventing something that could never actually happen.

Posted by: bmull | December 7, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

A basic plan should definitely cover catastrophic illness, hospitalizations, etc.

But elective procedures like abortions? Talk about a can of worms... Now if you allow direct or indirect funding of abortion, why not include cosmetic surgery? Hey, some people believe ugliness and aging are diseases that insurance should cover - some people believe it's unfair and insurance should cover neurotoxin and skin care.

that's the problem with Big Government. Big Government chooses what is an essential elective procedure. One size fits all plans involve people paying for another's procedures, including abortion - whether directly or indirectly.

Posted by: RandomWalk1 | December 7, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Randomwalk1- actually, it seems that the Stupak language is the real big government problem here. Right now private insurers are free to provide, or not provide, coverage for abortions in their policies. The Stupak language would put the full weight of government's heavy hand on eliminating that coverage. For consistency's sake, shouldn't you be arguing that "Big Government" shouldn't be determining what a private insurer can include in its plan?

Posted by: etdean1 | December 7, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Retrograde Stupak lanaguage? Sure, if by retrograde you mean the Hippocratic oath, which calls on physicians to procure no abortions. This healthcare reform is about ending the scandal whereby people die, suffer, or go bankrupt because they cannot access healthcare in one of the world's richest countries. It has nothing to do with the so-called right of women to do violence to their unborn child.

Posted by: morningsminion1 | December 7, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, whenever government starts subsidizing private insurance, you run into these sorts of problems. I mean, all the atheists would be ticked off if government starts subsidizing private insurance that payed for religious prayer services that pray for the sick patients in the exchanges.

Like I said, once you have big government involved subsidizing care, you run into these problems.

By the way, nothing in the Stupak amendment prevents a person from purchasing a supplemental abortion insurance plan. "abortion insurance" sounds a bit paradoxical...

Posted by: RandomWalk1 | December 7, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

So nothing in the Stupak Amendment prevents someone from paying extra to access a service that (in many cases) is currently covered? But FAILING to support it is evidence of Big Government?

Come on, the Stupak/Nelson thing is basically dictating terms as to the kinds of comprehensive insurance that private individuals can buy. I'm a liberal so I don't really have a problem with that per se, but it's a dumb policy in this case.

Posted by: NS12345 | December 7, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The other crazy thing is that young people voted for Pres. Obama, who's going to kick the can down the road and burden future generations with mounting federal debt and tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. And expanding Medicare to 55 year old folks will easily add another ten trillion dollars to unfunded liabilities. Any CPA would have a cow over federal government accounting. Arguably worse than Enron.

Posted by: RandomWalk1 | December 7, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Ha, listen, Reagan/Bush policies gave most of us a ton of debt just for doing luxurious things like going to college and visiting that magical theme park known as "the emergency room." Owing a bunch of public debt kind of pales in comparison to that...

Although, yeah, I wish I were getting access to similar coverage. But giving young people access to guaranteed coverage is Socialist, so I guess I'm screwed :(

Posted by: NS12345 | December 7, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The problem with Stupak is that it has no logical limit. Should we now cut of federal highway funds because some people will use them to travel to clinics to get abortions? After all, that's a kind of subsidy too. How about police and fire protection? Water hookups?

RandomWalk1: "The other crazy thing is that young people voted for Pres. Obama, who's going to kick the can down the road and burden future generations with mounting federal debt and tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. And expanding Medicare to 55 year old folks will easily add another ten trillion dollars to unfunded liabilities."

Obama has said that any health reform will have to be paid for. So I'll wait for the CBO estimate on that one. So far, all proposals have been paid for and there has been no "kicking the can down the road" on paying for health care reform--unlike the two wars, tax cuts, and prescription drug benefits that were completely unpaid for under the last administration and now make up the bulk of our deficit problems. Yet another problem for us and Obama to clean up.

Posted by: dasimon | December 7, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

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