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God rest, Teddy - yes. But maybe not just rest. Don't you hope there's a space for celebratory dancing and singing (because Teddy was a full-throated and joyful singer) - or the vibrations thereof - wherever it is that soul energy goes when it leaves a body? Because I want to picture that happy, healthy energy as an antidote to the choking, ignorant fear that has haunted and poisoned this process.

I have actually felt a few tears of gratitude forming as I have been reading the reports today. For exactly the reasons you state.


I'm glad it passed; yes I am. And it's true, it's the best thing to come out of Congress since the 70s. But that's a pretty low bar, so I don't think we should get so carried away that we forget that this should be considered a starting point to real reform of the health care system -- the first step down that slippery slope to a sensible universal, single-payer, tax-funded health care system [may it soon come to pass!]. In the midst of all the celebrating, though, we should remember, and remind Democrats whenever possible, that women's rights were held hostage by the Stupak/Nelson grandstanding, and because of it, low-income women now face even more barriers to receiving health care they need and wish to have. Things remain the same for women who may need an abortion and have the money to pay for it (that would be everyone in Bart Stupak's class), but poor women are expected to pay for their greater access to health insurance (a good thing) with their right to control their bodies (a very, very bad thing). I hate to sound churlish, but I plan to be reminding any Democrat or Democratic organization that asks me for money that they owe American women something because they failed to stand up for our right to choose this time. I think progressives and liberals need to start asking when President Obama plans make good on his commitment to sign the Freedom of Choice Act?


Lance, Victoria, Amanda: go read Jim Fallows's blog post from yesterday. As he says: "the significance of the vote is moving the United States . . . TOWARD a system in which people can assume they will have health-care coverage. Period."


Linkmeister, I had read Fallows before and I took his comments to be positive: "Why This Moment Matters" and he talks about the moment AS significant. I want single-payer. I think we will have, at the very least, a public option one day, not too far away. And I think this is one giant step toward that. Better begins now, and I am happy for that. - Today, NPR did a one minute or so list of what Americans get and when from this bill. It all sounds so reasonable. I just don't see how we go backward from here, now that the conditions are set. But yes, it's just the first HUGE start of a new garden. Lots of planting and weeding to go. That's enough for me to rejoice.


I'm of mixed minds on this. On the one hand, it will benefit many people who were otherwise suffering, and it confirmed the GOP as the racist demagogues they are.

On the other, it was passed on the principle that women's health and bodily autonomy are acceptable sacrifices for the good of the greater public, and the debate has deepened the confusion between access to health care and access to health insurance. Those set very bad precedents for future discussions of health in this country.


Two crucial principles -- that the government has the right to tell insurance companies what to do, and that all Americans are obliged to help each other -- are expressed in this legislation. That is what the insurance companies and the republicans were so afraid of. I am very impressed that Pelosi and Obama got this done, even if they had to throw abortion under the bus to do it. Pro-choice policies can always rise again -- even then, the right to an abortion was not abridged, as I understand it, only the right to get an insurance company to pay for it, and I think fundraising around this issue will actually provide an opportunity for pro-choice organizations -- but this was the only opportunity that the democrats had to pass health insurance reform. I'm so glad they took it.


CathiefromCanada, I wish I could be as sanguine about the future of abortion rights in this country. From my perspective, living in a state with ONE abortion provider for the whole state, there are already so many hurdles blocking poor and working-class women from obtaining this purportedly legal medical procedure that it might as well be illegal for most of those who need it. Adding the burden of federally sanctioned (even mandated) non-coverage for it, a burden that does not exist for any other legal medical procedure, doesn't strike me as a sign that pro-choice policies are on the Democrats' priority list now, or in the future.

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