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December 07, 2009

Senate Health Care Debate Moves To Abortion

On the agenda today, the Senate's version of the Stupak Amendment.

Senators will consider an amendment that closely mirrors language in the House version of the bill, barring federally subsidized health insurance plans from covering abortion even if the procedures are paid for entirely with customers' premiums.

Sen. Ben Nelson, a prominent anti-abortion Democrat, along with other lawmakers in both parties has insisted that taxpayer funds not be used to pay for abortions in a government-run health program.

The Nebraska Democrat is proposing an amendment that will reflect language in the one Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., offered in the House last month. It prohibits insurance companies from covering an abortion for any woman who receives a government subsidy to offset premium costs.

Nelson has said he doesn't expect a vote before Tuesday. The amendment appeared unlikely to gain the necessary 60 votes in the 100-member Senate, according to numerous lawmakers.

Nelson says he's join the Republican filibuster if his amendment isn't in the bill but I wonder if that's true. I can imagine a case where Reid comes up with some 'compromise' language that Nelson can support while at the same time saying, he's 'moving the process forward' with the hopes that stronger provision will survive the eventual conference committee.

If Nelson hangs tough and does filibuster (and the public option survives), that means Reid will have to find at least two Republican votes to get the bill out of his chamber to replace Nelson and Lieberman. If that's the case, we really need to book History on a week long trip to Vegas to get him liquored up while hiding his phones.

In other health care news...some hot Blue on Blue action as the AFL-CIO runs ads targeting Democratic Senators who want to tax so-called "Cadillac Health Care Plans" to help pay for this monstrosity.

The ad, which pushes the Senate to remove the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-value insurance policies, will begin running Monday in Delaware, Indiana, and Virginia.

Those states are home to centrist Democratic Senators Tom Carper (Del.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Mark Warner (Va.), whose votes on the taxes in this bill are subject to pressure from the labor group and other organizations with a stake in the healthcare fight.

I'd never thought I'd say this but...good luck to big labor! Yes, they want this to pass, just not on their backs but anything that helps put pressure on the many fissures in this debate is a good thing.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:14 AM

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