It will be interesting to see what the President comes up with next to sell his health care reform package. Here is what we will be watching for:
1. Even if Obama jettisons the government-run health care system (the public option), he will likely want to provide subsidies for the uninsured who meet certain financial requirements. Remember, the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions, will not apply to these subsidies. Will there be abortion coverage? And, will Obama be forthright about whether there is or not?
2. If Obama jettisons the end-of-life counseling provision still in H.R. 3200, rationing is not automatically eliminated. We still must be concerned about the high cost of any plan without sustainable revenues, cuts in Medicare, and regulations for insurance companies which will either mandate or deny certain treatments.
Today, the Montana State Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether assisted suicide should be legal under the Montana State Constitution. Unfortunately for the citizens of Montana, a lower court judge held in December 2008 that the State Constitution protects the “right” of terminal patients to receive assistance with suicide. Her decision is another example of court over-reach as Montana has a law which prohibits assisted suicide.
Wisconsin Right to Life played a significant role in the court case, recruiting Americans United for Life to work with the state of Montana on an appeal to overturn the judge’s decision. Numbers of organizations submitted friend of the court briefs including Not Dead Yet (NDY). NDY is a disability rights organization that is relentless in its opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia, recognizing that people with disabilities are at the front of the line as potential victims of these terrible acts.
An article in the Billings Gazette describes the case and arguments prior to today’s oral arguments. You can read from the Gazettearticle here.
Congress returns in one week with the Obamacare vote dance in full swing. Who has the votes for Obamacare, which version, and when will the vote be taken? Speculation runs the gamut. Here is what some of the key players are saying:
Senator Harry Reid: Says he has 60 votes on paper. Will use “reconciliation” or a Democrat-only strategy to pass Obamacare. Will do it for Teddy.
Senator Russ Feingold: Told a crowd in Mercer, Wisconsin that, “Nobody is going to bring a bill before Christmas, and maybe not even then, if this ever happens. The divisions are so deep. I [have] never seen anything like that.”
Senator John McCain: Working to bring back the gang of 14, which prevented filibusters of judicial candidates, to thwart use of the “reconciliation process” to railroad health care reform.
Senator Charles Grassley: As a member of the group attempting to negotiate a bipartisan bill, predicts that a scaled-down version of health care reform can be passed and that the government-run plan is dead.
Congressman David Obey: “I don’t expect to see this bill actually concluded until December,” Obey said in an interview with the MacIver Institute.
Congressman Paul Ryan and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin: Predict that health care reform with the government-run plan will pass in the House.
Congressman Bart Stupak: Says he still has 40 Democrats who will block government-run health care if abortion is not excluded. Stupak and his colleagues will even attempt to block a rule which prohibits amendments if he doesn’t get an abortion exclusion in H.R. 3200.
Hang on as we watch the dance unfold with partners wildly swinging to and fro.