Events coming up during the next two weeks

I’m looking forward to the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner this weekend. It will be live-streamed for those who can’t be there in person. The Iowa branch of Organizing for America is having a grand opening on Saturday as well, right before the JJ dinner.

Details for those and other events are after the jump. Post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you know if something I’ve left out.

Linn County Dems: Don’t forget that November 24 is the special election in Iowa House district 33.

One more “save the date”: the Culver-Judge campaign’s holiday party will be on Saturday, December 5 at the Val-Air Ballroom in West Des Moines from 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm. Tickets are just $35 for an individual, $10 for students and $50 for a family. Call 515-244-5151 or go to www.chetculver.com for more information.

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Ads thanking Boswell and other health care reform news

Health Care for America NOW and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are running television ads this week thanking 20 Democrats in relatively tough districts who voted for the House health care reform bill last Saturday. If you live in the Des Moines viewing area, you may have seen this commercial about Congressman Leonard Boswell:

 

 

Corporate-funded conservative groups have targeted Boswell in negative ads this year because of his vote for the climate-change bill in June. Ads attacking the health care reform project (many funded by insurance industry fronts or the Chamber of Commerce) have been plentiful this summer and fall too. It makes sense for reform advocates to thank Boswell, as Iowa Republicans are gearing up to challenge him with State Senator Brad Zaun or some other well-known figure.  

In other health care reform news, Tom Harkin is among the Senate Democrats trying to keep the "Stupak amendment" language on abortion out of the Senate's version of health care reform. He's absolutely right that some people pushing amendments are trying to kill the bill rather than make it better. A lot of questions have been raised about whether defeating the bill was Representative Bart Stupak's main goal. Since 1992, Stupak has been involved with the fundamentalist Christian "Family" group and has lived in their house on C Street in Washington.  

Stupak claims that as many as 40 House Democrats would reject health care reform without his amendment, but yesterday House Whip James Clyburn said the Stupak amendment only gained 10 votes for the bill. Meanwhile, more than 40 House liberals are threatening to vote down the final bill out of conference if it contains the Stupak language.  

Final note: MyDD user Bruce Webb wrote an interesting piece about what he views as "the most important and overlooked sentence" in the House health care reform bill:  

Most of the criticism of HR3962 coming from the left revolves around the belief that the House bill has no premium and so no profit controls, that it in effect delivers millions of Americans into the hands of insurance companies who can continue to raise premiums at will while denying care by managing the risk pool in favor of those unlikely to make claims. This just is not true, not if the provision in this one sentence is properly implemented. In a stroke it guts the entire current business model of the insurance companies, based as it is on predation and selective coverage, and replaces it with a model where you can only make money by extending coverage to the widest range of customers and or delivering that coverage in a more efficient way.

 Like they say, go read the whole thing.
 

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Iowans split on party lines as House approves health care reform

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.

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