House Passes Sweeping Health Care Reform Bill

Last night, House Democrats passed comprehensive health care reform legislation. After decades of fruitless struggle, the U.S. is finally poised to extend insurance to 32 million people and curb the worst abuses of the health insurance industry. President Obama is expected to sign the bill tomorrow. Whereupon, the Senate will use budget reconciliation to pass a series of "fixes" approved by the House last night in a separate vote.


The national pro-choice groups are up in arms because the President placated anti-choice zealot Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) by signing an executive order reaffirming that no federal funds will go for elective abortions.

Amanda Marcotte summed up the politics of the Stupak compromise perfectly:

1) That this is some impressive political jujitsu.  Having the President reaffirm what was already the law of the land in order to secure a vote from Bart Stupak, who has clearly never read the bill he’s so fucking concerned about.  Did they come up with this brilliant plan after Stupak has made it clear that his contempt for women’s opinions applies even to nuns?  Is it possible that Nancy Pelosi called up Obama and said, "Look, I’ve been telling him and Sebelius has been telling him there’s no federal funding for abortion in this bill.  He apparently needs to hear it from a man, so can you give us a hand?"

The president might as well have signed an executive order banning federal funds for vajazzling, the option was never on the table. It costs nothing to repeat the obvious. At first it seemed like Democrats might have to make substantive concessions to Stupak in order to placate him. Then Stupak shot himself in the foot by publicly dissing nuns. His vaunted coalition of anti-choice Democrats began to fray as more and more mainstream Catholic organizations came out in favor of reform.

The right wing is howling about the radicalism of Obamacare, but the end result is actually pretty tame. The final bill leaves private insurers firmly in charge, bolstered by healthy public subsidies. There's no public option, of course. The bill will crack down on the worst abuses of the insurance industry, such as lifetime benefit caps and rescission. The bill is not perfect, or even particularly progressive, but it represents a major step towards universal coverage.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
  • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less