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.