Chants of "Socialist!", "Communist!", and "health care rationer!" abound if you turn on the news and see a Tea Bagger rally taking place. Sadly, the irony of seeing simultaneous accusations of fascism and socialism on the same posters long since ceased to be amusing. As the debate on the Health Care reform bills meanders through the Senate, like a carton of molasses spilling across a frozen pond, the opponents of bringing America's health care system in line with the rest of the developing world continue to throw in new challenges and obstacles.
Senator Nelson has stated that he would like to put forward an amendment "based on a proposal by Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.). The measure would prevent the public insurance plan from covering abortion. It would also prohibit any woman who got the tax credit from enrolling in a plan that covers the procedure." He has made clear that he will not vote for the bill if it does not include these restrictions. Fine! So be it. Let him go home to his 156,000 constituents in Nebraska that currently lack health insurance (www.familiesusa.org). Let him tell those families, and those 35,000 uninsured children that he doesn't want them to have health insurance because someone somewhere might try to get an abortion.
The unfortunate reality is that both the Stupak amendment and any potential other anti-choice amendments that are put forward will not ultimately matter for real meaningful reform. If a single payer plan were still on the table, and this asinine ban on abortion funding would mean that large numbers of Republicans would finally start voting for their constituents' interests instead of in the interest of their next campaign contributions, then I might even be ok with it, in the hopes that it would be repealed or declared unconstitutional down the line. But to give in on the issue of choice, when the reform that is taking place is no longer even Health Care reform, but Health Insurance reform makes my stomach churn.
For the past 30 years we have had to keep fighting the same fights that were thought to have been won already. The problem isn't even with the ridiculous views of the Sarah Palins and the Sam Brownbacks who probably think the Earth was created less than 10,000 years ago. Don't get me wrong, that's a serious problem and the millions of Americans that actually believe that nonsense doesn't help our scientific standing in the world, but the real problem stems from the turncoat, traitorous, backstabbing, shortsighted Democrats like Ben Nelson. A line must be drawn! These people need to be cast out and purged. Donations to their campaigns from any DNC or President Obama supporters should come to an end, and they should be left to rot in the beds they've made.
If they have such serious qualms with the efforts to make Health Care something that all Americans experience and can afford, then they should vote no on the bill itself, but they should stop this nonsense of holding up the bill with non-filibustering filibusters. Allow it to come to a vote and VOTE NO if your conscience demands. Democratic senators, no matter their view on health care reform, should not be trying to stop the vote itself with procedural wrangling.
Finally, I wish that those fighting for meaningful change, like the great Senators from Vermont, Leahy and Sanders, could organize their allies and lash back at the disinformation machine that has confused so many Americans this past year. If opponents are concerned about rationed care or medical services being denied due to Washington bureaucrats then they should be equally upset about the "rationing" of OBGYN services through the Stupak amendment. If people are concerned about the rationing of medical care then attack the Stupak amendment as a slippery slope towards bureaucrats, and not doctors, deciding what treatments can and cannot be provided to a patient.
President Obama is supposed to have the most cunning team ever assembled to deal with "the message." If only that were actually true.