Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bart Stupak Optimistic on Health Care Plan but Woefully Ignorant on Economics

Bart Stupak once again finds himself reluctantly at the center of a political storm. The umpteen term liberal democrat from Northern Michigan would love to pull the trigger on Barack Obama's health care plan, but he is hesitant to do so if passage of the bill would allow for public money to be used to fund abortion.

He is being pressured on both sides. The liberal wing of his party would love to have all the bells and whistles the bill would provide including long waits for medical treatment, a rationing of services, a stunting of medical advances, and the delicious irony of pro-lifers helping to foot the bill on abortion procedures. Many of those who oppose abortion voted for Bart Stupak solely because of his hard line rhetoric against the procedures.

Honestly, I don't trust Bart Stupak any farther than I can throw him. While he has continued to remain adamant that taxpayer funded abortion should continue to remain illegal, he is hinting that certain language within the bill would be enough to secure his vote and the votes of 10-15 democratic lawmakers for whom he has become an unofficial spokesman.

This is not a good sign.

"I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago," Stupak told The Associated Press between meetings with constituents in his northern Michigan district, including a crowded town hall gathering where opinions on health care and the abortion issue were plentiful and varied.

"The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I," Stupak said. "That's never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points — we don't restrict, we don't expand abortion rights? I think we can get there."
But what about the remainder of the bill? Does Stupak have no concerns with the economic calamity this bill portends?

As Jennifer Kuznicki points out, Stupak's constituency is concerned with more than just the abortion angle. Many of Michigan's residents are concerned with the economic impact of a bill on a district in which many individual counties have employment rates hovering at around 20 percent.

Will placing an additional 15 percent of the US economy in government hands be a long term boost to Michiganders? Will rationing medical care, which economics dictates the Obama plan will do, benefit those who seek medical care? Will reducing the number of American trained doctors, which economics dictates the Obama plan will do, benefit Americans? Will further reducing competition among health care providers, which economics dictates this bill will do, help to lower costs? We could go on and on.

Stupak seems to have no qualms about any of these issues.

Michigan voters have done themselves no favors by electing to office someone as ignorant on economic issues as is Bart Stupak. For now Stupak is tenuously leaning against this bill, but he does so solely for a reason that is but a small part of why he should.

This is neither firm footing for Stupak nor those he represents. Votes matter.

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