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House Drops COBRA Extension, Democrats Cede Moral High Ground on Health Care

Democrats claimed the fight for health care reform was a moral imperative. They would often cite the number of people who died in this country because of a lack of health insurance. Estimates vary, but that population is usually measured in the tens of thousands per year. When we at FDL opposed the health care bill on policy grounds, we were often attacked for not thinking about the thousands who will die because they lack health insurance.

Now, it appears all that talk about the moral imperative to save people’s lives by making sure they had something called “health insurance” was nothing more than a talking point. Congressional Democrats today callously opted to ensure that thousands of American soon lose their health insurance by dropping the COBRA funding from a the so-called Jobs bill:

The House of Representatives passed a jobs bill shorn of multiple stimulative efforts today, barely getting enough votes from Blue Dogs more concerned about short-term deficits and political considerations than public health. In order to ensure passage, House Democrats took out an extension of the 65% COBRA study and funding for the states for Medicaid. Progressive Democrats tried to object to the rule bringing the bill to the floor, but their protest fell just short, with 36 Democrats opposing.

Therein lies the evidence that congressional Democrats just don’t care about making sure every American has health insurance. They might say it is a sound and valuable principle, but it is clearly way down on their list of priorities. Democrats would rather fund a seemingly endless war half-way around the world. They are also far more concerned with getting a pretty CBO scores, which most American neither know about or understand. Keeping their seats and avoiding possible attacks from those oh-so-mean Republicans has been placed ahead of helping stressed and struggling Americans keep their health insurance. If they won’t vote in the best interest of regular Americans, how can they ever expect the same people to vote for them?

Congratulations Democrats, you can no longer claim any moral high ground on the issue of health care.. It seems all that messaging about saving some of the uninsured was just clever PR trick, a handy cudgel to beat up opponents of your particular brand of health care legislation. In light of today’s action, it is hard to see it as part of a sincere commitment to help your less fortunate constituents.

Note: While not passing a COBRA extension, Congress did manage to vote for an incredibly expensive second engine for the F-35, which the military says it doesn’t need and really doesn’t want. We are literally wasting billions on hardware the military is asking Congress to cut while causing economically besieged Americans to lose their insurance.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at