Health Care Reform’s Final Deal

White House photo/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4420332277/">Pete Souza</a> (<a href="http://www.usa.gov/copyright.shtml">Government Work</a>)

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


It took President Barack Obama and an executive order, but in the end, the Democrats got the deal they need to pass health care reform.

The White House and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the leader of a group of anti-abortion Democrats, reached a deal late Sunday afternoon on an executive order reiterating that the health care bill does not fund abortions. The final deal falls short of Stupak’s ultimate goal: forcing people who receive tax credits to help pay for insurance to buy special, separate “riders” (basically abortion-only insurance plans) if they want abortion coverage. As it stands, people who receive tax credits and want abortion coverage have to pay for it with a separate check, but the abortion coverage doesn’t have to be a separate “rider” policy. Stupak has apparently decided, after taking the Democrats’ historic push for health care legislation to the brink of failure, that he can settle for that.

“You’re not going to find Stupak language” in the executive order, the congressman admitted at a heavily attended Sunday afternoon press conference announcing his decision. Stupak tacitly acknowledged he had settled for less than his ideal. “We’d rather have a statute,” he said. But he didn’t get it. Earlier today, I wrote that there were two ways to understand Stupak: either he just wanted his moment in the spotlight and would compromise once given sufficient cover by the White House, or he really was prepared to stand his ground and let health care stand or fall on the issue of abortion funding.

Stupak chose the first option. By taking this deal, he has decided that his major goal was less important than passing health care reform. Perhaps at some point the Stupak bloc either realized they were wrong or decided they were fighting an unwinnable battle. As Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), a Stupak ally, said at the press conference, the executive order provides them with political cover aplenty. The Stupak bloc “wanted to make sure that it was crystal clear to the American people” that the bill doesn’t fund abortion, Driehaus says. The executive order definitely helps on that front. But many reasonable people already knew what it took Stupak, Driehaus, and their friends months and months to figure out.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate