Via Congress Matters the House convenes at 1PM EDT (Noon Austin local). There are two hours of debate scheduled after that (Now delayed at least one two hours [Now in progress]). Democratic leaders predict the actual vote to come later this evening between 6 and 10PM EDT. Follow me and/or HCR on Twitter.
3:08PM CDT BREAKING: Stupak announces he and six to eight others will vote yes contingent on Obama Exec Order (Reported text here)! Move virtually assures passage of HCR. Expect prior dem yes’s in tough districts to possibly switch to no, as Speaker Pelosi will be able to release a few vulnerable dems from commitment if Stupak bloc votes yes.
2:30PM CDT BREAKING: MSNBC reporting Stupak to hold news conference at 3PM CDT, rumor is deal has been struck and he will vote yes.
2:25PM CDT: dems now reportedly claiming they’re at 214 in favor (Need 216 to pass HCR). Unconfirmed.
2:00PM CDT: HuffPo reports Nancy Pelosi reportedly making her way to Capital Hill carrying the same gavel used in 1965 to pass Medicare. That almost makes me tear up, scroll down past the updates to see why.
1:30PM CDT: Quasi- official count: 209 – 209, it’s that tight right now.
1:15PM CDT: McMahon a no. Pomeroy who had been hanging with the Stupak bloc, is now reported a yes.
12:57 CDT: Motion passes, hours of debate will soon begin, security had to be called to House gallery to remove some kind of protest. The reason for the non-controversial votes that keep being called: to get and keep people to the floor so they can whip up votes. Like Churchill said, “democracy is the worst form of government … except for all the others that have been tried.”
12:45 CDT: Tanner a no. Giffords a yes. Lincoln Davis a no.
12:30 CDT: DDay at Firedoglake posted reported Exec Order intended to placate pro-life dems like Stupak here. Joan at DKos speculates Stupak pushing for stronger language and that explains conflicting reports on Stupak’s et al votes.
12:12 CDT: CNN Reporting Stupak still a no.
12 Noon CDT BREAKING: MSNBC reporting that Bart Stupak is a yes. If that includes several Stupak supporters, it would put HCR over the top with room to spare.
11AM CDT Current Unofficial Counts: unconfirmed ayes are reportedly about 214 (Need 216 to pass)
My father had a run-in with mortality last month. A routine operation on his foot went awry leading to renal failure, a heart attack, hepatic issues, delirium, and a bunch of other complications that only grew worse for a week straight. He’s retired, elderly, so any of them could have been suddenly fatal. Like most folks from that generation, he’s a tough as nails. In the end he managed to pull out of the spin and started slowly improving. My dad is home, finally, after being in hospitals for a month and pulled back from the brink of death. His bills have started coming in. The amazing thing? Since he has Medicare, I’ve spent more out of pocket on my arthritis this year than my dad has for his month long stay in Seton Hospital and Healthsouth Rehab in Austin, Texas.
To be fair, I have serious arthritis. Anklyosing Spondilitis or AS to be exact. It affects my joints and eyes, especially the back. It can also generate intense pain. Imagine red hot ice picks digging into your spine and hornet stings in your eyeballs and you get the idea. Fortunately there are drugs to treat it. But I have to go to three separate doctors, a general practitioner, an ophthalmologist, and a rheumatologist, to get them. One of those drugs, Humira, retails for $2,000.00 month. Needless to say, without insurance, or with insurance that excludes preexisting conditions, and without a helpful “rheumy” and staff that do everything they can to ease my symptoms, no Humira. Which means the pain can get so bad I sometimes toy with wanting to visit Dr. Kevorkian and seek ultimate relief.
I tweeted yesterday that I can handle complex mathematics, multivariable vector calculus and topology are fun for me, and yet I can’t follow the obscure procedural maneuvering in the House and Senate on Healthcare. Thanks goodness for my Daily Kos Contributing Editor peers. But I do understand science, some of it, and there can be no greater impact for the fruits of science on the average person than in the field of medicine.
We can talk about the spinoffs from the space program, or draw connections between the microchip it facilitated and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging and PET scans that followed. We can argue about biology Vs creationism, or we can add up the misery avoided and lives saved because of genetically engineered microbes happily producing everything from Humulin to TNF blockers. Science saves lives, pure and simple. When a patient is in the throes of a severe allergic reaction, we can pray and we can hope, but a single drop of adrenaline injected just under the skin will stop the life threatening symptoms in their tracks 99% of the time. We can transplant organs and bone marrow, move skin from healthy to charred areas, fill up empty veins with donated blood and shock a failed heart back to life, all because of science.
We really do have the best healthcare in the world, at least in terms of medical science. My dad’s an example. But none of it is worth a hoot to our fellow Americans who can’t get it or have to jump through ridiculous hoops. I know, because I’m one of them.
This isn’t a chess game. Opposing teams have been clashing and snarling like linebackers and offensive guards after the snap. The reform before the House has been described by opponents as something like the Crystalline Entity from Star Trek; it will destroy the nation, eat the planet right down to the bedrock. Advocates have painted it as the solution to all our myriad insurance ills, it will save more lives than penicillin. Needless to say, assuming it gets passed, the truth will fall comfortably in the middle of those two extremes.
Maybe today will be the first step to securing those life saving benefits for all of us. Maybe not. I guess we’re fixing to find out, one way or another.