Public Option = NO/ Abstinence Only Funding = Yes      

W.T.F. I caught wind of this on The Daily Show last night:

The Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment that would provide millions of dollars to fund abstinence-only programs on a 12 to 11 vote last night. The amendment, sponsored by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), would allocate $50 million per year for such programs through 2014, according to the Washington Independent.

All 10 Republicans on the committee and Democratic Senators Kent Conrad (ND) and Blanche Lincoln (AK) voted for the Hatch amendment.

So we can't get a public option, but they can get abstinence only funding even when it's been proven REPEATEDLY that abstinence only doesn't work? Even Bristol Palin knows that, or at least she did before her mother got to her.

Even Texas, one of the most conservative states in the country is coming the the realization that abstinence only doesn't work:

Some Texas school districts are abandoning abstinence-only curricula in favor of abstinence-based programs that also teach about contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Many of the school districts, including Austin's, made the change after it became clear that teen pregnancy rates were climbing under the abstinence-only approach, according to the American-Statesman. The change also comes as the Obama administration seeks to shift federal abstinence-only dollars to programs proven to reduce teen pregnancy rates.

More government money has been spent teaching abstinence in Texas than any other state, and it has the third-highest teen birth rate in the country, the American-Statesman reports. A Texas State University study released earlier this year found that less than 5% of Texas districts have comprehensive sex education. The school districts in Austin, Lufkin and some other areas have adopted "abstinence-plus" curricula, which teach that abstinence is the safest choice but also stress the importance of using contraception if teens become sexually active.

If TEXAS can get it, why can't the Senate?

Instead of voting to support something that any non-biased source believes will actually WORK when it comes to lowering the cost of health care, they chose to vote to support a curriculum that doesn't work, hasn't work, and will NEVER work? Where is the logic in that.

In fact, there are a lot of states that don't even bother with the funding, which means there are millions of dollars out there going unclaimed that could be claimed by states that need the money for stuff that actually WORKS:

We also referenced an Associated Press article that confirmed the data noting “that participation in the program is down 40 percent over two years.” States opting not to partake in the program meant that nearly half of all funds for such programming remained unclaimed, this despite the fact that most states were experiencing enormous funding shortfalls.

In fact:

In the most recent study, researchers compared teens who had taken the virginity pledge to those who had not taken a pledge. The researchers found results similar to the aforementioned studies.

First, the rate of the teens taking part in sex was the same. Those taking the virginity pledge were just as likely to have intercourse. The only positive, statistically small, was that those taking the pledge had 0.1 fewer sex partners over the five year study than did those who did not take such a pledge.

However, two other findings were most damning. First, those taking the virginity pledge were less likely to protect themselves. Pledge takers were found to be less frequent users of condoms and other forms of birth control.

Therefore, those youngsters who took the virginity pledge were not only just as likely to have intercourse, they ultimately were more likely to take part in sex in an unsafe manner. This has led experts to conclude that the lessons students take from their abstinence-only education programs is a negative and/or faulty view of contraception.

Instead of listening to the FACTS, the Senators seem to be listening to the batshit crazy "logic" of people like Michele Bachman (R-Crazy):

The bill goes on to say what's going to go on -- comprehensive primary health services, physicals, treatment of minor acute medical conditions, referrals to follow-up for specialty care -- is that abortion? Does that mean that someone's 13 year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night? Mom and dad are never the wiser.

To be fair, Max Baucus actually did something RIGHT in proposing another amendment which also passed:

Committee Chair, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), opposed Hatch's amendment and offered his own amendment. The Baucus amendment would create a program that would include information on contraceptive options, abstinence, and life skills, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The committee also voted to pass the Baucus amendment on 14 to 9 vote.

Meanwhile, we get something they call a "quasi-public option":

The Senate Finance Committee narrowly passed an amendment Thursday from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that moves the conservative panel as close as it will likely get to a public health insurance option.

The amendment creates a "federally funded, non-Medicaid, state plan which combines the innovation and quality of private sector competition with the purchasing power of the states," according to an overview.

It would be available to people with incomes above Medicaid eligibility but below 200 percent of the federal poverty level -- a very narrow window. However, Republicans fear -- and progressives hope -- that once the plan becomes law there will be pressure to expand it.

The plan would not be free. It is based on Washington state's Basic Health plan, which costs roughly 60 dollars a month, with the remainder of the premium subsidized by the state.

Private insurers would be eligible to participate in the plan, as would HMOs or other networks of health care providers.

Huh? That sounds a hell of a lot more complicated than the actual public options I've been hearing about.

And once again I have to turn to late night news/satire to get the truth:

All three of those clips illustrate how the Democrats are blowing a good thing. They have no more excuses, yet they seem to be doing everything they in their power to fail. They are no different when it comes to working for the lobbyists instead of their constituents.

And with all of this bending over backwards to think more like Republicans than Democrats, they STILL won't get any Republican support:

The Senate Republican leader made clear on Wednesday that his party, despite all its griping over the public health insurance option, abortion-funding or health care for illegal immigrants, is simply and flatly opposed to the "core" of the Democratic health care reform proposal.

Satisfying every Republican demand short of scrapping the entire project, said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would still not capture GOP support.

Maybe we should do as Stephen suggests, and have everyone send Max Baucus and the other "Democrats" on that committee our health insurance bills, so he can pay them.
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