Indulging Bart Stupak is literally not an option
Yes. And I'm guessing [whether House and Senate Dems can pull together and pass a health care reform bill through budget reconciliation] depends upon whether or not pro-choice women (and men) in both houses are going to have the heinous Bart Stupak amendment forced down their throats as part of the reconciliation "fix." I can't see any way that Stupak and his boys will capitulate otherwise and unless they do, this will not pass the House.
What do you suppose the odds are of that happening?
I'd say the odds are bad. Senate rules wouldn't allow the Stup-ification of the health care bill through budget reconciliation.
Compared to the Stupak Amendment to the House health care bill, the Senate bill would impose fewer restrictions on participating private insurers as to what kind of abortion coverage they can offer.
Now that the Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the best hope for passing health care reform is to have the House pass the Senate's bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already made it clear that that can't happen unless the Senate first makes some changes. In order to avoid a filibuster, those changes would have to be approved through budget reconciliation, where they can be passed by a simple majority.
The thing is, you can't just pass any old legislation through budget reconciliation. As the name suggests, only items that mainly affect the budget can be passed that way, i.e., they must "principally affect federal revenues." It would be procedurally straightforward to use reconciliation replace the excise tax on "Cadillac plans" with an income tax on high earners. By the same token, since a strong public option would reduce the deficit, the Senate parliamentarian might deign to let the Senate add a public option through reconciliation.
The Stupak Amendment isn't like that. At its rotten core, the Stupak Amendment is about preventing private insurance companies from selling abortion coverage to private citizens who pay for it with their own money. It has no impact on the budget, or taxes, or the deficit. So, there's no way to buy off Stupak and his cronies through budget reconciliation. Pelosi's going to have to get those votes somewhere else.