Sunday, November 8, 2009

We Were Sold Down the River

Last night, the US House of Representative passed HR 3962, the so-called Health Care Reform bill. During the floor debate, Speaker Nancy Pelosi allowed a successful vote on Rep. Stupak's amendment to deny any woman access to abortion coverage.  This means that any woman will be denied abortion coverage in her health insurance plan if she either uses the "public option" OR if she receives any subsidy whatsoever to purchase health insurance from private insurers.  So now lower and middle-class women will ALL be completely denied access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care.  Which may also include access to emergency contraception and other forms of birth control.

Here is how the PA Congressional House delegation voted on this amendment.  Fourteen Pennsylvania Representatives, including 7 D's and all 7 R's, voted against women's reproductive health and only 5 D's stood up for women's rights.

Yes Votes (i.e., Votes for Stupak Amendment and AGAINST Women's Health)

Jason Altmire       (D) PA 4
Christopher Carney  (D) PA 10
Mike Doyle          (D) PA 14
Charlie Dent        (R) PA 15
Kathy Dahlkemper    (D) PA 3  (and co-sponsor of amendment)
Jim Gerlach         (R) PA 6
Tim Holden          (D) PA 17
Paul Kanjorski      (D) PA 11
John P. Murtha      (D) PA 12
Tim Murphy          (R) PA 18
Joe Pitts           (R) PA 16 (Primary Republican Co-sponsor)
Todd R. Platts      (R) PA 19
Bill Shuster        (R) PA 9
Glenn Thompson      (R) PA 5

NO VOTES (Votes in Support of Women's Reproductive Health)

Robert a. Brady     (D) PA 1
Chaka Fattah        (D) PA 2
Patrick J. Murphy   (D) PA 8
Allyson Y. Schwartz (D) PA 13
Joe Sestak          (D) PA 7

This was the third blow to what could have been true health care reform.  The first blow was a weakening of the public option to an insurance "exchange program" that continues to keep insurance companies in power over our health care.  The second blow was the removal of Kucinich's amendment allowing states to craft their own single-payer plan.  And now this!


I just emailed the White House with this message:
Yesterday, the House passed HR 3962.  In the process, Pelosi allowed Stupak to offer his anti-abortion amendment knowing that the majority of the house is anti-woman and anti- comprehensive health care for women!
YOU SOLD US DOWN THE RIVER! We will no longer support this bill in its current format! Not only does it deny women access to full reproductive health care, it’s public option is weak, and there is no clause in it allowing states to create single-payer plans.
What could have been an excellent plan is now just a shill for the extreme right wing and the insurance industry!

Unless you come out and clearly state that you will keep your campaign promise and protect women’s reproductive rights by vetoing the entire bill if the Stupak amendment remains within the bill and call for a much stronger public option (NOT an “Exchange Program”), we will oppose this non-reform bill.
We must stand up for a truly comprehensive health care reform law.  One that includes single-payer, Medicare for All and that is truly comprehensive health care for all. One that includes full reproductive health care and doesn't deny coverage to anyone based on pre-existing conditions, evidence of domestic violence, age, sex, race, national origin, disability, immigrant status, or ability to pay.

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