As a grassroots, non-partisan organization, CPC Watch has struggled to take a clear position on the bill itself. Our main organizers range, in political affiliation, from centrist to honest-to-god socialist. Our email discussions on the bill have been spirited but respectful. For that reason, we have never officially endorsed or supported any partisan effort to increase access to health care.
But if there's one thing we have been able to agree on, it's that this bill falls short. While we commend any effort, political or otherwise, to increase access to what many of us believe should be a fundamental right, we simply cannot pretend we're wholeheartedly pleased with the outcome of last night's vote.
While we understand the positive impact the regulations on insurance companies will have, allowing for more people with "pre-existing conditions" to purchase health insurance, we all feel a little slighted by the deal made between Bart Stupak and President Obama to ensure no federal money will go towards abortion care. What has been named a "deal with the devil" by some pro-choice groups seems, to many of us at CPC Watch, to be just another example of Obama backing down in the face of some very minor opposition. And while we recognize the importance of just getting a bill through, we feel this move will only further the belief that, when it comes to health care, abortion does not count.
In the words of our supporters:
I cannot pretend I was not at least a little happy to see something happen last night. Though comprehensive women's health was bargained away for a single vote, I know that women and families who could not previously be insured will soon be able to do so. Preventative care, contraception, pre-natal, and pediatric care will become a little less burdensome, and I suppose that's a start.
-Becca James, Outreach and Fundraising Coordinator
I am thoroughly disgusted by President Obama's actions. After months of looking up to him and believing that he would uphold his position against Stupak/Nelson, hearing he made a "deal" hit me hard. Thousands of women will continue to have their reproductive choices made for them by their financial situation. Any limit on abortion access is an attack on true Choice.
The for-profit system is not benevolent. Simply creating the space for costs to go down will never be enough if insurance companies are not regulated, if they are not rivaled by a not-for-profit option. We have the ability to manufacture food and clothing for dirt-cheap, and yet people still go hungry and cold. Simply making things cheaper for corporations is no solution, and requiring tax payers to pay these private companies with no commitment to the well being of its customers is not going to fix the inherent problem.
-Lauren Guy-McAlpin, Project Coordinator
I feel that this is less a health care bill than it is a mandatory insurance bill filtered through the "decency police." Our country still seems sold on the idea that health care is expensive, rather than acknowledging the truth of the matter: The bulk of the expense is in the drugs or surgery that become necessary as a result of making bad health choices that are tolerated (or even encouraged) in our country simply because someone is making money off those bad choices. Those who are making the money form those bad choices will continue to make money through the bill as it stands now, and the bulk of our population will accept that such is the way it is. It is a complete failure in making the "change" that we need to make for our efficiency. As far as the Stupak thing is concerned, it's just another example of how some people are making things unattainably expensive by attaching their personal values onto public healthcare, yet these are the first people to scream and whine when taxes are raised for services that they can't deny that they themselves depend on. Wouldn't it be great if we could "pay" for this insurance on two different scales? The "I support abortion/ natural medicine/ home birth when possible" scale, and the "I put all my faith in western medicine and don't support abortion" scale, which would naturally be more expensive. If we could fill out surveys like we do when we're getting car insurance, then maybe there could be some fairness here. -- from my left brain. Mari Gallion, singlepregnancy.com
Other statements from pro-choice and women's advocacy groups can be found here:
Pro-Choice Groups Commend Historic Health Care Reform, But Concerns Remain