Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow

Concerns About the Baucus Health Care Bill

The bill  introduced to reform health care by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) has splintered the Democrats and so far has no support among Republicans.  As reported earlier, Senators Grassley and Enzi, in fact, have expressed concerns about the abortion provisions. 


Based on our initial reading, we too have concerns with the abortion provisions in this bill.


First, with regards to a minimum benefits package, p. 25 of the bill states that abortion “cannot be a mandated benefit as part of a minimum benefits package except in those cases for which Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services are permitted.”  We are concerned that, if the Hyde Amendment is scrapped by the pro-abortion Congress, then abortion on demand could be mandated as a minimum benefit.  Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has been added each year to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill.  The amendment prevents federal funding of abortion, except in limited circumstances.  However, Congress could, at some point, fail to add the Hyde Amendment to the HHS appropriations bill, thus eliminating its protections.

Second, the bill permits health care plans to cover abortions for which federal funds are prohibited, but tax credits and cost-sharing credits cannot be used “to pay for abortions beyond those permitted by the most recent appropriation for the Department of Health and Human Services.”  Under the bill, “insurers participating in any state-based exchange that offer coverage for abortion beyond those permitted by the most recent appropriation for the Department of Health and Human Services must segregate from any premium and cost-sharing credits an amount of each enrollee’s private premium dollars that is determined to be sufficient to cover the provision of those services.” 


Furthermore, the “Secretary shall also establish a process using an estimated actuarial value by which insurers that provide coverage for abortions beyond those permitted by the most recent appropriation for the Department of Health and Human Services must demonstrate that no federal premium and cost-sharing credits are used for the purpose of paying for such abortions.” 


We are concerned that what this means in practice is that if the Hyde Amendment is scrapped, then federal funds, tax credits, and cost-sharing credits could be used to pay for abortion on demand.  Additionally, even while the Hyde Amendment is in place, federal funds, tax credits, and cost-sharing credits can subsidize plans that provide abortion coverage, even though an accounting mechanism attempts to segregate funds.


Third, under the bill, each state exchange would be required to include a plan that “provides coverage of abortions beyond those for which Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services are permitted. The Secretary would also ensure that in each state exchange, at least one plan does not provide coverage of abortions beyond those for which Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services are permitted.” 


Therefore, at least one plan would be mandated to cover elective abortion.  Furthermore, if the Hyde Amendment is scrapped, there is not a requirement that each state exchange include a plan providing no abortion coverage. 


Fourth, p. 25 of the bill contains a provision that “would ensure that state laws regarding the prohibition or requirement of coverage or funding for abortions, and state laws involving abortion-related procedural requirements are not preempted.”  This provision would also ensure that “Federal conscience protections” are not preempted.  It is unclear, however, how this provision would work in practice, particularly if the Hyde Amendment is deleted.


Barry, there’s legitimate concern in the pro-life community about this new bill and other measures that already have been introduced.  In addition to concerns raised by Senators Grassley and Enzi, there’s also concern from some Democrats in Congress. 


Consider the comments from Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) who said he will vote against the House health care reform bill (HR 3200) if he is not allowed to offer a “more explicit” ban on federal funding for plans that cover abortion services and he has indicated he has the votes to kill the House measure.   


Barry, abortion is part of this debate, whether you think it should be or not.


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Comments read comments(14)
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Catherine McDonald

posted September 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm

This bill needs to be aborted.

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posted September 17, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Come on Jay, what do you care what this proposal says. No Republican is going to vote for it no matter what it says. This is just more delaying nonsense. What is ridiculous is that the wives and mistresses of Republican congressmen can get abortions while they vote against the same for poor women…

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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted September 18, 2009 at 12:29 am

So basically what you are saying is that if the Hyde Amendment is repealed, which it probably will be in a pro-abortion legislature, then there would be no requirement of the states to prohibit or not allow federally funded abortions because of the Baucus Health Care Bill? I don’t like it one bit. Scrap the Baucus and any other bill that provides taxpayer-funded abortion in the umbrella Death Care Bill.

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jesus gonzalez

posted September 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm

What I want to know is the ACLJ against spending money on health care for Americans yet says nothing about spending 1.6 trillion dollars on the Iraq war?
We send troops to Iraq to rape Iraqi women and ACLJ says nothing. Why?
There is a video on the Internet showing an Iraqi women being rape by six US soldiers and ACLJ its okay with that. Why? Why is it okay to spend American Tax dollars to rape Iraqi women?

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posted September 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Why is the ACLJ no talking about the cost of the Iraq War vs Health care? We are spending $121,000 per person ($484,000 per family of 4) in the US. Why not spend the Iraq war money on our country? (I’m saying why is there a debate about the cost of health care reform for americans… Think how it would be if some other planet invaded the U.S. and spent $121,000 per American per year to straighten out our country).

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Your Name

posted September 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I thought I heard President Obama say that there will be no federal money funding abortions in the new health care legislation. Would this include Embryonic Stem-Cell People in that decision as well? Seeing how they are people too?
I have heard the argument of them saying that their not people until they are fully formed and out of the womb and breathing? Who ever thought of that one I don’t know? Trying to sway the public with lieing ideals and views of which are completely fabricated to the ideal of a humen not being a humen until it is outside and breathing and screaming for help. What a problem we have on our hands world wide. For this is not just a United States problem, this is a problem world wide. The view that a child can be killed legally. Somebody somewhere gave people different names like Zygote and Embryo.
I suppose it was some diagnostic lab somewhere who did not have a heart in the view of saving those children and giving them a place to live.
So when this country and all the people realize that you can’t just call a person some other form of species and then kill it for health care benefits or some body part sale, then we can get back to business of reconstructing our future of love, peace, and ideal order.
Love the people don’t kill them!
Double up on your birth control methods, if you don’t want to have a baby. Better yet, triple it.
Cara Floyd
Be Your Personal Best. Whatever that is. Keep an open perspective to views which can improve your situation and others around you. Learn to stay away from negative people who drain you dry of self worth. For God loves you and so do others. God bless.

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Your Name

posted September 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Trust that God will work out your problems, when you have done all you can and you keep trying to improve the situation.
Taylor Anne

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posted September 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm

I find it absolutely amazing that, with all the many deficiencies of the Baucus bill, the one thing that concerns you is abortion.

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Your Name

posted September 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm

I am not aware of all the issues of every bill, by any standards. I have not studied it. I am sticking to the issue at large here. Which from my view is saving lives and then we can discuss health care packages and the like. If there is some issue of your conscern, bring it up. My conscern here is not to cut you down. I am conscerned for society at large, with the lack of conscern for humen life and bringing them into existance. So if you find it somehow beneficial to bring up that I am conscerned about it above other issues, your right, I am.
People have to be saved to breath so they can be a voice in America, like you and I.
Cara Floyd
Take Care!

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Your Name

posted September 23, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Abortion is not the only thing which conscerns me, thank you very much.
There are many issues which conscern me.
Cara Floyd

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Your Name

posted September 23, 2009 at 8:54 pm

What are you afraid of, Mary-Lee. That somebody out there actually wants to make a difference and is staying on target.

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Your Name

posted September 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Rob Otteson

posted September 26, 2009 at 1:11 am

I happened to hear your broadcast today. I tend to agree that elected representatives that vote on legislation they have not read (or at least had their staff provide a synopsis for) are manifestly derelict in their duty.
That said, I have to ask; was the ACLJ — or your radio program — as critical of the process when the (so-called) Patriot Act was made law? Also, as pertains specifically to “healthcare reform,” why is it better for wage earning Americans (as most of us evangelicals are) for the payments (or lack of) to our doctors and hospitals to be brokered by entities who’s (quite understandable) profit interests to shareholders require what can only be called “rationing” of care? How are we helped by allowing one sixth of our economy to be siphoned off to these (frankly) protection rackets? Why are you on the side of further erosion of the economic basis on which we try to actually live out our family values? I really have to wonder, on this issue, who’s side are you on?
Oh, and BTW, this Senate Committee nonsense — with or without the “public option” — truly is heinous; a patent give-away to an already sinfully powerful corporate interest. This is not “government healthcare,” but rather what Ayn Rand understood to be the worst of all outcomes — the unholy alliance of government and corporate power.
I have relatives in Canada. We are “debating” an issues that has been solved by most of the rest of the world for decades. This is a non problem but for the fact of the power in this country wielded by Blue Cross Blue Shield, UHC et al. I wish your zeal was truly aligned with the best interests of the American public, at least on this issue.
Finally, ever wonder why the insurance “industry” is so vehemently opposed to the “public option”? Does it not have to be because they understand that if a true public option is available to the population we will choose it in droves? Of course even the forces for reform have been so controlled by the financial power of these entities that it appears the United States will remain captive to these corporations until Jesus comes. When the light in them is darkness, how great the darkness…

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Russ Redrick

posted October 8, 2009 at 10:06 am

I have a question about the Health Care bill and cannot find an answer. It appears that all I find is tax this and tax that to raise the money for the plan. Is the bill a plan to raise money by increasing taxes? I cannot find where this bill is going to help pay my medical bills or make it any easier to get good health care. It would appear that my insurance rates will go up and I will get less in return. Most people seem to think the bill is a socialized medical plan but it is far from that. It is more like the bills that require us to have liability Insurance on our motor vehicles. I have read the original bill 1018 pages and get no information from the suggestive text with no clear definition. By the time you look up the references to each line of the bill I estimate about 10 to 12 thousand pages. This bill is like having a leak in your roof and you call a repairman, you tell him about the leak and the floor is getting wet. He then sets a bucket under the leak and tells you it is fixed the floor is not getting wet. This bill seems to be a transport system to carry just about every amendment from fuel tax increases to increasing the fees on ambulances.
Is the whole bill just a sham to give the people the impression that our legislators are working on a health acre plan to appease the public? We have a health care problem but this bill is not the answer
Mr. Congressman please kill this bill and start all over.

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