And The Health Care Band Played On

Over the weekend, Crystal Lee Sutton, labor activist and inspiration for the movie Norma Rae, died of cancer after struggling with her insurance company, which had delayed her treatment. So why is the current health care discussion focusing on abortion?

Is Congress being haunted by the ghosts of bullshit policy plays?

If there was any story to seize as part of the cause, it would be Sutton's. She even provided an interview in 2008 which states:

She went two months without possible life-saving medications because her insurance wouldn't cover it, another example of abusing the working poor, she said.

"How in the world can it take so long to find out (whether they would cover the medicine or not) when it could be a matter of life or death," she said. "It is almost like, in a way, committing murder."

But are we discussing the fact that the health insurance companies run their own death panels? Oh no. Instead, we're covering abortion, which really means the President is making it clear that no federal money is going to pay for abortions. Which is only a problem if you ignore the existence of the Hyde Amendment, which banned the use of federal funds for abortions. This amendment was passed back in 1976 - clearly, this should be common knowledge.

And yet, they have Kathleen Sebelius on television, driving this point home like it's new:

And in case you missed that point:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the president supports language in health overhaul legislation that explicitly prohibits money for abortions.

Sebelius says President Barack Obama has made it clear that his health care goals do not include using public money to pay for abortions.

The health secretary says Obama will include wording in overhaul legislation that explicitly prohibits the practice.

Okay, we get it. Federally funded money isn't going to be used to fund abortions. And yet, the subject continues on. The anti-choice set is intent on using health care reform as a way to further their agenda, in the same way the GOP is trying to leverage the current health care animosity to score points against Obama.

And all the while, we still haven't discussed the major differences in each of the plans floating around, and it appears that people are still confused about what constitutes a public option. Nate Silver, while picking apart a vaguely worded Washington Post survey, noted:

From my vantage point, what the poll "proves", if anything, is that specificity will be helpful to the Democrats. They should either insist on the public option or remove it — but keeping their options open may be doing little more than confusing the public. And the pollsters.


Real ‘Norma Rae' dead of cancer after battle with health insurer
[ Raw Story]'
Real 'Norma Rae' has new battle involving cancer [Times News]
Hyde Amendment [Wikipedia]
Dems: No taxpayer funds for abortions [Politico]
HHS Head: No Abortion Money in Health Plan [Time]
Exploiting the healthcare debate to restrict abortion [Salon]
Reform Opposition Is High but Easing [Washington Post]
When You Assume, You Make a Mess Out of Your Poll [FiveThirtyEight]