After many hours of debate, the House of Representatives approved HR 2962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act tonight by a vote of 220-215. In a nice touch, Representative John Dingell (MI-15) presided over the chamber today. He was one of the architects of the original Medicare bill.
President Barack Obama went to the Capitol this morning to urge House Democrats to pass the bill. But as you can see from the roll call, 39 Democrats voted no. All of Iowa’s Democrats voted “aye.” Only one House Republican voted for the bill (Joseph Cao, representing the heavily Democratic LA-02).
I am upset that no House Progressives were allowed to offer amendments today, but Bart Stupak (MI-01) was able to further restrict women’s access to abortion services. His amendment is a very bad deal for women. I’m with Angry Mouse: this is not okay.
The Stupak amendment passed 240-194, gaining 64 Democratic votes (roll call here). That’s almost a quarter of the House Democrats. An embarrassing number of Democrats who aren’t even in the Blue Dog caucus voted for it. As Natasha Chart tweeted tonight, the Stupak amendment is exactly the kind of thing a Democratic majority was supposed to stop from coming to the floor. The DCCC won’t get a dime from me this cycle.
Supposedly Obama told progressives this morning he will try to have the Stupak provision removed from the bill in conference. I would bet money against that happening. I expect to see bipartisan movement to include a similar clause in the Senate health care bill.
According to Jane Hamsher, the AFL-CIO may cut off contributions to Democrats who vote against health care reform. Again, I would bet money against this happening, but some Blue Dogs would have trouble funding their re-election campaigns without support from organized labor.
Speaking of Blue Dogs, I want to give special credit to Leonard Boswell (IA-03) tonight. Unlike most of his fellow Blue Dogs, he voted no on the Stupak amendment and yes on passing the bill.
Bruce Braley (IA-01) noted tonight that we hear a lot of Republican talk about medical liability, but not one word about medical safety.
Also worth noting: the future of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program is uncertain. As fairleft2 notes in this diary, the House bill moves children either to Medicaid or into private plans. It’s not clear whether this provision could pass the Senate.
Meanwhile, a new poll from Virginia suggests opposing the public health insurance option was disastrous for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
Share your own health care reform thoughts in this thread.
UPDATE: Jacob Hacker, “godfather” of the public health insurance option, thinks the House bill is worth supporting. Whether the public option can survive a House/Senate conference committee is another question. A few days ago the Stupak amendment was considered a “poison pill” that would doom the health care reform effort, but last night House Progressives almost all voted for the bill even after the Stupak amendment passed. I think that signals the death of the “progressive block” strategy for demanding a public option in the final version of health care reform.