In One Great Victory, Many Small Triumphs, but Two Defeats

Saturday’s vote on the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act capped a week full of equal parts triumph and tragedy — upstate voters handed the extreme wing of the Republican party a resounding defeat, but Democrats lost the state houses of two generally blue states. Because the latter events were easily attributable to the personal foibles of our guys, I wasn’t so worried. But with Saturday’s vote we enter the new week with not just a healthcare bill, but a net victory in a series of culture war skirmishes.

The final text of the AHCA Act (PDF) enforces strict non-discrimination, written to cover sexual orientation (§ 252); provides grants for comprehensive “evidence-based” sex education (read: not abstinence) (§ 2526); reinstates the millionaire’s tax bracket (§ 551), ends the unequal taxation of domestic partner health benefits (§ 571); and expands Medicare coverage for low-income persons with HIV (§ 1731), who previously had to wait for the onset of AIDS to receive coverage. Set against the Stupak Amendment, and a restatement of current federal law prohibiting “discrimination” against physicians who fail to do their job provide abortions (§§ 258-59), one is left with the distinct impression that social conservatives have abandoned all fronts of the culture war, except abortion.

Good riddance. We can deal with that later. For now, we turn to the Senate, and what are sure to be an anxious couple of months.

Ahem: knowing the state of things is just one of the benefits that comes from reading legislation, rather than whining about the size of it.


  1. ..but Democrats lost the state houses of two generally blue states.

    Virginia? Really? Analysis = fail.

    I’m just delighted that Democrats were so willing to curtail abortion funding. At this point I’m ready to support the bill. I am twirling my mustache and dreaming about Nancy Pelosi trying to explain to her voters why Democrats enacted the biggest restriction on abortion in a generation.

  2. MIke,
    I’d hold off on the I Told You So pie for just a moment. First, the abortion ban is not liley to survive in the Senate, and so I doubt we’ll see it in the final bill. Second, this is yet another instance of certain Democrats trying to give away something in exchange for “Bipartisanship” and getting nothin gin return. expect Pelosi to clamp dowqn on future instances of that.

    1. I disagree. IF (and it’s a big IF) the senate even debates this bill, the read I am hearing from both conservative and liberal pundits since Saturday is that the bill will include the abortion provisions as-is. It’s the only way to get Blue Dogs on board.

      Also, future work by the House will primarily be on economic stuff and a likely second stimulus. Considering how poorly the first stimulus played in a lot fo districts (and that assessment is getting more severe by the day) I don’t expect any liberal boondoggle for Round 2. They will have to keep the bill much more even-keel, especially in an election year.

  3. Mike, you need to do some research yourself. The abortion restrictions in the healthcare bill were really little more than continuances of existing law. Regrettable continuances, to be sure, but it’s just a more specific version of the Byrd Amendment, or existing conscience rules. Disappointing retrenchment in the status quo, but no more.

    1. Stupak’s more restrictive than Hyde. Hyde said no federal funding for abortions, Stupak effectively takes abortion coverage off the market.

  4. Ames – you mean the Hyde Amendment.

    1. Thanks! Yes, that :). Confusing my filibuster law with my abortion law. Understandable, really.

      1. Heh. Thing is, the Byrd Amendment is a different thing entirely – a tariff by another name – but I know where you’re coming from.

  5. knowing the state of things is just one of the benefits that comes from reading legislation, rather than whining about the size of it.

    But whining about the size of it is so much easier. It’s not like any of the target audience is actually going to read it and counter whatever you imagine it might say. ;)

    1. Alcari,
      That may be true out in the “real” world, but in here, not so much.

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