Tales from the Trail

Abortion issue hard to avoid in healthcare debate

Like it or not, the healthcare debate has turned into a fracas over abortion rights.

pelosifingerU.S. House Democratic leaders had hoped to avoid just that in their push to expand healthcare coverage and reform the health insurance market.

But getting the votes to pass the historic legislation on Saturday boiled down to settling a dispute between pro-choice and pro-life forces over abortion.

Abortion foes won. The House passed an amendment restricting the availability of insurance policies that include elective abortion services even though many medical plans currently offer such coverage.

The debate over abortion highlights broader questions surrounding the government’s reach in healthcare.  Once the government starts subsidizing insurance premiums, it will dictate what can and cannot be included in that coverage.

Dems see silver lining for healthcare in election results

Republican victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governors’ races may send shivers through Democratic circles, but what does it mean for President Barack Obama’s ambitious proposal to overhaul the $2.5 trillion healthcare system?

pelosiNot much, say Democrats. They are looking beyond the state issues that dominated the governor’s races and instead are focusing on two congressional races won by Democrats where national issues like healthcare reform were in play. 

“From my perspective we won last night,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters when asked about Tuesday’s elections. “This was a victory for healthcare reform. From my standpoint we picked up votes last night — one in California and one in New York.”

Pelosi says she was told about Harman wiretap

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced confidence on Wednesday that Representative Jane Harman “would never do anything to hurt her country.” 

 Pelosi did so while disclosing that federal investigators advised the speaker a few years back it had overheard Harman, a fellow California Democrat, on wiretappITALY/ed telephone calls. 

 ”I have great confidence in Jane Harman,” Pelosi told reporters. “She’s a patriotic American. She would never do anything to hurt her country.”