In an interview with ABC News, the president highlighted two controversial aspects of his health-care bill and inadvertently may have harmed its prospects. First, he declared that the Stupak amendment, which enabled pro-life Democrats to get on board, would have to go:
Saying the bill cannot change the status quo regarding the ban on federally funding abortions, the President said “there are strong feelings on both sides” about an amendment passed on Saturday and added to the legislation, “and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we’re not changing the status quo.”
Yes, the status quo for more than 30 years has been that taxpayers don’t subsidize abortions. But the president thinks women’s “insurance choices” would be restricted, so the Stupak amendment is kaput.
Then Obama was asked about the draconian Medicare cuts. They’re not real, right? I mean seniors already have trouble getting doctors to treat them at Medicare rates. Oh, no! The president is dead set on slashing Medicare:
“Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?” [Jake] Tapper asked.
“Yes,” the President said. “I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks.”
One has a sense that the White House is operating in a parallel political universe, one in which there is no pro-life contingent that nearly sunk the bill and in which Medicare cuts are a selling point. (Yesterday, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson declared he wouldn’t be supporting the bill without a provision like the Stupak amendment.) If he keeps this up, ObamaCare opponents will start using Obama in their ads.