Stupak: canary in the coal mine
On the Chris Matthews Show this morning,the panelists seemed to think the Stupak Amendment is not a big deal because a relatively small number of women have abortions every year and the Democrats are trying to bring health care to millions.
What planet are they living on? Who are they listening to? Stupak is not just about those few women who have abortions each year. It’s about all the women in the country who might need the procedure at some time in their lives. It’s about the fifty percent of the population that has fought for decades for equal rights, the freedom to choose, and the right to full, legal, comprehensive health care. Undercutting, compromising, or backsliding on the issue is simply not acceptable.
The health care bill is already badly flawed and totally ignores a number of important issues such as the current shortage and maldistribution of primary care physicians, tort reform and the soaring cost of physician malpractice insurance, and the opportunity to use the government’s purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices.
As the bill moved out of the House and into the Senate last week, Bill Clinton made a special trip to Washington to rally Democratic senators:
Just pass the bill, even if it’s not exactly what you want. When you try and fail, the other guys write history. … The worst thing to do is nothing.
Now there’s a great reason to pass a bill. Not because it’s good law, not because Americans need it, but because not passing something — anything — will give the other guys a win. And we wouldn’t want to do that with midterm elections coming up next year, would we? Getting re-elected, you see, is far more important than any legislation; it is and always has been Job One in Washington.
Bottom line: a half-assed bill that only mucks around in the health care sewer without cleaning it up will just create a bigger stink and push the problem on down the line.
Stupak not a problem? It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, a bridge too far, an eleventh-hour capitulation to the religious right, a sellout of Democratic principles and American women.
Stupak not a problem? It’s the canary in the coal mine, and Congress better pay attention.