Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Does Health Care Cover Abortion or Not? Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

posted by swaldman

You know things have gotten confusing when even the independent “fact checking” organizations can’t agree with each other. The question that tripped them up: does health care reform cover abortion?
FactCheck.org last week said Obama was misleading when he claimed that his health care reform wouldn’t cover abortion. “It’s a matter of fact,” the non-partisan website declared, “that it would allow both a ‘public plan’ and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions.” PoliFact, on the other hand, earlier had sided with the White House, declaring as “false” a statement from Republican leader Rep. John Boehner that Obama’s health care reform “will require (Americans) to subsidize abortion with their hard-earned tax dollars.”
The most recent blowup came when Obama declared, during a call with religious supporters, “You’ve heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion. Not true.”
The National Right to Life Committee’s Douglas Johnson responded that Obama’s health care plan “explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions.”
What on earth is going on?
To understand requires us to take a journey into the legislative weeds but here’s my bottom line: those who claim abortion clearly is covered and those who say it clearly isn’t are both wrong.


Rape, Incest and Life of the Mother. Let’s start with the most clear-cut issue. The House legislation would require that the public health care option government cover abortions in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.* This is relatively non-controversial because even currently extant restrictions on federal funding for abortion (such as the Hyde Amendment) allow for this exception.
Can Cover vs. Must Cover vs. Probably Will Cover. When advocates claim that the “public plan” – a government-administered health care option — does not cover abortion, they’re being literally accurate… but slippery. The two main bills (so far) do not, in fact, require a public option to cover abortion. However, they don’t prohibit abortion coverage either, instead leaving it up to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to decide, later, whether abortion would be included in a basic benefits package.
Pro-life activists say that if abortion can be covered, it will be covered. It’s certainly not an unreasonable prediction, given that the Secretary and the President are both pro-choice (though neither side talks about the flipside: when President Palin is in the White House she could reverse the policy through a simple executive order).
I don’t know why abortion opponents can’t just say, “It’s likely that abortion will be covered.” That’s not quite as dramatic as saying that heartbreakingly vulnerable seniors will have to forgo surgery while being “forced to pay for abortions” (as a Family Research Council ad claimed) but it has the advantage of being, you know, true.
(Memo to the White House press corps: Please ask President Obama, Robert Gibbs or Kathleen Sebelius the following question: “The health care legislation gives the HHS Secretary the authority to decide whether abortion is covered. Will you commit right now that abortion will not be covered?”)
Abortion and the Public Option. Ok, for argument sake, let’s say it’s a year from now, health care reform is the law of the land and the Secretary of HHS does decide that the public option must cover abortion. Would that then mean that the federal government was subsidizing abortion?
Not necessarily, say many health care advocates. How could that be? Because even though it’s called a “public plan,” citizens would be paying premiums for their coverage. In theory, then, abortion services would be paid for just by private premiums, not by public subsidies.
Anti-abortion advocates argue that in this case premiums are akin to taxes – money goes from a citizen’s pocket into the U.S. Treasury — so if premium dollars are paying for abortion it’s morally equivalent to tax dollars paying for abortion.
Democrats have proposed additional provisions to prevent funds from being used for abortion (see below) but on this point, I think the pro-lifers again have the better case. There would be large federal outlays required to set up a public option, the federal government would administer it, and there may possibly be ongoing federal subsidies. If the public option were to include abortion, it would be hard to argue that there was no taxpayer support of abortion resulting from that.
(There may be ways around this problem, by the way. In this space, I floated the idea of having abortion not covered in the basic plan but giving consumers the ability to purchase, with their own money, a rider that does cover abortion. Bill Donohue of the conservative Catholic League said the idea “could break the deadlock in Catholic circles” and Richard Doerflinger of the United States Conferences of Catholic Bishops said it was “such a crazy idea that it might just work. ” I haven’t heard much pro-choice reaction yet.)
Abortion and Private Insurance. Though the public option has gotten the most attention, another part of the bill is likely to affect many more people. Those who couldn’t afford insurance would get “affordability credits” to help. They’d then buy insurance in a new health insurance “exchange,” a sort of insurance supermall set up by the government but consisting mostly of private plans.
Under the bills circulating in the House, the government does not write a check to a doctor, including, say, an abortion provider (as some pro-life groups have claimed). It writes a check to an insurance company to help pay for an entire insurance plan, some of which would cover abortion, some of which wouldn’t.
Here’s the riddle: would that count as providing a direct subsidy for abortion (prohibited under current law) or indirect support (allowed under current law)?
The government isn’t paying for abortion but it is providing dollars, some of which will bounce from insurance company HQ to a hospital and eventually into the pockets of an abortion provider.
One way of looking at this is not whether this is good or bad but whether it mirrors the status quo or not, since both sides have said they’re willing to preserve the current rules (for now).
Alas, that approach doesn’t determine much, as both sides can cite legitimate examples proving their point.
To prove that the government currently errs on the side of providing no subsidies (direct or indirect), prolifers point to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, the health insurance system for government employees. In that system, plans covering abortion are simply not offered (except for a few years in the early 1990s when Democrats controlled the White House and Congress). Currently, if you’re a federal employee and you want an abortion, you have to pay for it out of pocket or purchase a supplemental insurance plan from outside the federal system.
To prove that the government currently does allow for indirect subsidies, pro-choice groups point to a different example: Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor. The federal government won’t pay for most abortions in Medicaid, but it does allow states to throw in money – so, as a practical matter, poor women in 17 states are able to get Medicaid-financed abortions.
In addition, it’s worth noting that the health care plan offered by Republican nominee John McCain during the 2008 campaign would have covered abortion indirectly, too. He would have offered a health care tax credit to citizens who could then buy insurance coverage of their choosing, including plans that covered abortions. In some cases, a check would have travelled from Uncle Sam to John Q. Public to Jack Q. Abortionist.
Bookkeeping Solutions/Shams. Recognizing that this subsidy plan could be perceived as indirectly subsidizing abortion, Rep. Lois Capps of California proposed in the House Energy and Commerce Committee a few ideas she characterized as “common ground” safeguards.
First, she said, how about if we make sure that in each region everyone has access to at least one plans covers abortion and one that doesn’t. That way, someone who is pro-life would always be able to buy a plan that doesn’t cover abortion and feel that their premiums aren’t indirectly subsidizing someone who is.
This idea backfired. Seeing this policy glass as half empty rather than half full, the National Right to Life Committee opposed it on the ground that it “mandates that at least one private insurance plan must offer unlimited abortion coverage.”
Capps had a second idea for trying to make it seem that taxpayer dollars weren’t subsidizing abortion too directly. This idea would apply to both the public option (should it exist) and to federal subsidies for people buying private insurance.
In a section entitled, “Prohibition of Use of Public Funds for Abortion Coverage,” she proposed that insurance companies set up two separate accounts – one filled with money from the federal government, and one with money from consumer premiums. When a consumer sent in her premium check it would go into the premium account; when the federal government kicked in its share, the money would land in a different pile. Insurance companies would then have to guarantee that abortions would be paid for only by money in the account made up of premium dollars, not from the account filled with taxpayer dollars.
In effect, Capps was proposing a situation in which abortion would be “covered” — i.e. available to consumers — but not subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Note that when Obama made his statement to religious groups, he didn’t say abortion wasn’t covered; he said it wasn’t funded by government.
The National Right to Life Committee called this approach “a mere bookkeeping sham.”
Maybe — but if so, it’s a sham in the way that these sorts of segregation-of-funds bookkeeping schemes often are. For instance, the government provides funding to Planned Parenthood for maternal health care but says it can’t use any of the money to pay for abortions.* Pro-lifers have long argued that this, too, is a sham. Perhaps but it is currently accepted by Congress, undercutting the pro-lifer argument that the Capps’s approach veers sharply away from the status quo into a radical new pro-choice direction.
The bottom line: the Capps amendment prohibits direct taxpayer subsidy of abortion in these plans, and allows indirect subsidy. That merely leads to the highly subjective question: is it indirect enough?
My view: if the Capps amendment is off, it’s by a matter of inches or feet, not miles (and there are ways of further tightening it up). So when pro-life forces claim that, as a result of the “affordability credits,” taxpayers are paying for abortion, they’re being hyperbolic at best, deceptive at worst.
We often think of abortion as a black and white issue. But when it comes to the question of whether health care reform bills “cover” or provide “taxpayer support for” abortion, there are many shades of gray. As of now, neither side is entirely telling the truth about what the bills do; on some aspects, Obama and his allies have misled, on others pro-lifers have. More important, some of this does not involve matters of “fact” or “truth” or “lies” but rather subjective judgment calls, a land where ideologues don’t function well but legislators must.
Also published on The Wall Street Journal Online. For more of Steve Waldman’s WSJ.com column, Heaven and Earth, click here.
*Clarifications: In the rape and incest section, I originally wrote that rape and incest abortions would be covered under the private plans in the exchanges. That was incorrect. They would be covered under the public option, though. I’ve changed the text to reflect that. Lower down, I deleted a sentence that was confusing related to Planned Parenthood bookkeeping.



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Jill Stanek

posted August 27, 2009 at 7:56 am


Steve,
I love ya, but you’re naive not to get the plan of the plan, which is government mandated abortion coverage in private and public insurance. It’s not easy to spot because they don’t want it easy to spot. Polls always show that even pro-choicers don’t want to pay for someone else’s abortion. They purposefully made the dots hard to follow.
But Time magazine this week (http://is.gd/2BCAU) became the latest to agree with FactCheck.org (http://is.gd/2BCQg – “Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans”) and the Associated Press (http://is.gd/2BD9h – “Government insurance would allow coverage for abortion”) that it’s in there.
Most telling is that both House and Senate Democrat controlled committees have rejected several – 9, I think – amendments stating abortion would be explicitly excluded from coverage.
Don’t forget Obama said only 2 years ago – when he was speaking honestly before a group of Planned Parenthood supporters – that he considered “reproductive care” to be an “essential… basic” component of nationalized healthcare (http://is.gd/2BBsu).
It’s in there. If abortion doesn’t remain in the plan, a huge part of what they want will be gutted. They will lose the bulk of what little remaining support they have if they take abortion out. All they’ll have left then is union support.
God bless,
Jill



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Douglas Johnson

posted August 27, 2009 at 11:40 am


I am the legislative director for the National Right to Life organization — the federation of right-to-life groups in all 50 states. I am quoted in the article, but I disagree with some of the author’s statements and conclusions.
The Capps Amendment, which wrote the words “abortion” and “abortions” into the bill 17 times, was actually written by veteran staff to Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and delegated to his faithful lieutenant Rep. Capps. Both Waxman and Capps have unbroken career voting records against any limitation on abortion or government funding of abortion. Democrat Bart Stupak (Mi.), co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, called the Capps-Waxman Amendment a “phony compromise.”
Let’s talk first about the proposed big new government health insurance plan, the “public option,” that the Obama-backed House health care bill (H.R. 3200) would create (kicking it off with $2 billion in start-up funds from the Treasury). As amended, the bill explicitly authorizes the Obama Administration to fund abortion for any reason under the public plan, from day one.
Mr. Waldman writes that “it’s certainly not an unreasonable prediction, given that the Secretary and the President are both pro-choice” that “if abortion can be covered, it will be covered.” Right, but there is actually a lot more specific information on which to base a “prediction.” Barack Obama himself appeared before a gathering of Planned Parenthood activists when he was running for President, and this is what he said: “Essentially, what we’re doing is to say that we’re gonna set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It’ll be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.” (The Obama campaign readily confirmed that “reproductive services” included abortion, not that anyone doubted it.) You can watch the video clip yourself, here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqww8jmizug&feature=player_embedded
Obama has never said anything to contradict that commitment, contrary to some claims. Every time the issue has been raised recently, Obama has engaged in evasion and misdirection. If Congress grants his Administration the authority to cover abortions in the “public option,” he will certainly do so — he has consistently opposed all limits on government funding of abortion (including the Hyde Amendment) throughout his career in public life.
So, once the Secretary of HHS has ordered that all abortions be covered under the “public option,” what would that mean? It would mean that you would not be allowed to enroll in the new government plan unless you were willing to pay an additional premium to cover the cost of elective abortions — in effect, an abortion surcharge. The Capps Amendment explicitly requires that the federal official who runs the program must calculate the total cost of abortions and increase the premium for all enrollees enough to pay for the aggregate cost of the abortions. The amendment specifies that this “abortion surcharge” (my term) cannot be less than $12 per enrollee per year, but the amendment does not set an upper limit.
Again, this abortion premium is not optional: If you want to enroll in the government’s public health plan, you would be required to pay the abortion surcharge. If you did not want to pay for abortions, you would not be allowed to take advantage of the government program at all.
While these payments to the government agency might be labeled as “premiums” rather than “taxes,” it is contrived and misleading to refer to them as “private funds.” Government agencies receive funds from many sources — taxes, fees, fines, and so forth, or in this case, “premiums.” Once the federal agency has control of the funds, they are public funds — federal funds.
Under the Capps Amendment, the federal agency running the public fund would indeed write checks directly to “an abortion provider,” drawn on a federal Treasury account, specifically to pay for abortions performed on plan enrollees. The federal government IS the “insurance company.” This is government funding of abortion, pure and simple.
As Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently wrote, under the Capps-Waxman Amendment, “The government will REQUIRE that everyone taking the public health plan pays for this abortion coverage; and since those premium dollars will be paid to the government agency managing the plan, which will then turn those funds over to abortionists, this will be government funding of abortion. Calling it a premium rather than a tax makes no difference at all to the moral issue — in fact, people who are forced to pay this abortion premium can be sure that this particular money of theirs will be used by the government to fund abortions and ONLY abortions, a situation not found in the usual taxpayer scenario.”
Now let’s talk about the other big abortion problem with the bill: The big new program to provide subsidies to tens of millions of people to buy health insurance. These subsidies (“affordability credits”) will be funded mostly by general tax revenues, and also by special taxes (actually, fines) on employers and citizens who don’t conform to other provisions of the bill. It is true that these funds would go to insurance companies (or to the federal public plan agency), not directly to providers, but when you buy health insurance, you buy what the insurance pays for. Under Capps, the federal subsidies (tax subsidies) would be going to pay for coverage of abortion on demand.
Contrary to Mr. Waldman’s understanding, such a situation would not be parallel to the current Medicaid law. The Hyde Amendment (a provision attached to the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill) provides, “None of the funds appropriated in this Act, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are appropriated in this Act, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.” However, we each live under two sovereigns: The federal government, and a state government. If a state government sets a separate funding scheme to pay for abortions for people who happen to be Medicaid-eligible, we oppose that policy, but it is a matter of state law — it is not federal funding of abortion or of insurance coverage of abortion.
By the same token, the amendments we are supporting to the Obama-backed health care bills (such as the Stupak anti-abortion-subsidy amendment) deal only with the federal programs that these bills would create, and would not prevent any state from subsidizing abortions for whomever it chooses, although certainly we would oppose that at the state level.
The other example Mr. Waldman gives is downright strange. He writes that the federal government “provides funding to Planned Parenthood for maternal health care but says it can’t use any of the money to pay for abortions. The organization has to pay for abortions out of a separate account, filled by private, not taxpayer, dollars.”
I have news for Mr. Waldman: There is no “separate account” from which Planned Parenthood “pays for” abortions. Planned Parenthood is not generally in the business of “paying for” abortions. Rather, Planned Parenthood is in the business of SELLING abortions. In fact, analysis of the most recent annual report of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) reveals that the organization remains America’s largest abortion provider, performing 305,310 abortions in 2007. At the going rate for a standard first-trimester suction abortion, Planned Parenthood’s income from that many abortions would have been $126.1 million, which would have been about one-third of the income taken in by PPFA-affiliated clinics during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008. The details are here: http://www.nrlc.org/Factsheets/PPFAMoney.pdf
So who actually does pay for the over 300,000/year abortions performed by Planned Parenthood? Answer: The clients themselves, in most cases, or insurance plans that receive NO federal subsidies. In other words, none are federally subsidized (except in certain cases involving life of the mother, rape, or incest), and most are paid for by REALLY “private funds.” But under the Obama-backed bills, a lot of those abortions would be paid for by federally subsidized health insurance. That indeed “veers sharply away from the status quo into a radical new pro-choice direction,” and we oppose the change.
In summary, any member of Congress who votes for this legislation is indeed voting to create (1) a federal agency that will directly fund abortion on demand, and (2) a second federal program that will provide massive tax subsidies to purchase insurance plans that cover abortion on demand. That is the truth, it is nothing but the truth, and it will be widely understood across the land by the time the votes occur on these bills.
Further documentation on the pro-abortion components of the Obama-backed health care bills is here:
http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/Index.html
Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
Washington, D.C.
Legfederal — at — aol-dot-com
http://www.nrlc.org
202-626-8820



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Julie

posted August 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm


Steven, I do not understand why you continue to site statements form Jill Stanek or the National Right to Life Committee’s Douglas Johnson. They are “two peas in a pod” – the end justifies the means. I do not know the religious or nonreligious background of either Stanek and Johnson, but as a Christian, Jesus never provided any exceptions to allow lying.
FactCheck is only correct if considering the current law (Hyde Amendment) that allows abortions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother for federal funded abortion coverage such as Medicaid, Congress/federal employees, military, etc. The Capp Amendment does NOT change current law on federal funding for abortions.
The Capp Amendment states the Secretary of HHS will determine whether insurance plans comply with the law. It does not allow her to override the law.
Douglas Johnson, “As amended, the bill explicitly authorizes the Obama Administration to fund abortion for any reason under the public plan, from day one.”
Johnson’s above statement is one of several blatant lies.
Obama’s 2010 budget includes continuing the Hyde Amendment.



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watzabatza

posted August 28, 2009 at 9:01 am


I just want to extend my disagreement to that abortion… Other countries must stop practicing that by law. That’s life and that’s a sin that God must not want us to do.
Thank you.



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Gerard Nadal

posted August 28, 2009 at 9:29 am


Julie,
It’s clear that you disagree with Jill Stanek and Doug Johnson. You call them liers. That’s a conclusion, not an argument. They have offered great substance in their posts. If you disagree with the conclusions, then explain to us HOW they are mistaken in the data they offer as the substance of their positions. Your ad hominem attacks only serve to buttress the validity of those whom you besmirch, as you have nothing else to offer in reply.



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Julie

posted August 28, 2009 at 2:08 pm


Gerard,
You are correct about my needing to provide a reason why they are lying. My reaction was a result of reading false statements by both Jill Stanek and Douglas Johnson in regard to Obama’s voting to allow infanticide during the Presidential Campaign. It was also a result of my passion for health care reform that is being greatly harmed by the false and misleading spread by individuals that have their own agenda for preventing much needed reform. My passion for affordable health insurance for everyone comes from my own experiences and experiences of people I know.
Both Stanek and Johnson makes sweeping conclusions about Obama’s motives. It is my opinion that Stanek and Johnson’s motive is to prevent coverage of all abortion in a public option regardless of the source of payment.
The posting by Johnson is voluminous; however, the information provided is conclusory and not referenced to any government or other reliable sources for support. His statements are not supported by the Capps Amendment, for example, “As amended, the bill explicitly authorizes the Obama Administration to fund abortion for any reason under the public plan, from day one.”
The Capps Amendment is only a few pages and not very difficult to read: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090730/hr3200_capps_1.pdf
Page 2-3
Allows Federal funds for abortions allowed under current law, which means the Hyde Amendment would have to be overturned. The Hyde Amendment allows payment for abortions to safe the mother’s life, incest, and rape.
Page 4:
(2) SEGREGATION OF FUNDS. -If a qualified health benefits plan provides coverage of services described in section 122(d)(4)(A), the plan shall provide assurances satisfactory to the Commissioner that-
(A) any affordability credits provided under subtitle C of title II are not used for purposes of paying for such services; and
(B) only premium amounts attributable to the actuarial value described in section 113(b)
are used for such purpose.
Page 6:
“(3) PROHIBITION OF USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR ABORTION COVERAGE.
-An affordability credit may not be used for payment for services described in section 122(d)(4)(A).”
On the NRLC web link provided by Johnson, the argument is taxpayer money is being used because government employees are collecting the fees. I have not seen any detail on how the collection of fees for health insurance. The NRLC did not provide any support to verify that the government is collecting the money. The proposed public option is designed to be self-supporting. The cost of the government employees salaries would be covered by the collected premiums. The public option is supposed to provide competition, but not drive health insurance companies out of business.
Eventually the public option should be able to charge enough premiums to at least partially cover or cover all money expended on the affordability credit. It is realistic to expect start-up cost for a public option. The salaries of executive management level government employees are approximately $100,000 to $200,000, which is substantially lower than salaries of executive management at health insurance companies. Henry Waxman has requested information about the salaries and benefits for employees of major health insurance companies that make more than $500,000. The information should assist in doing a better cost comparison.
It could be argued by individuals that are pro-choice that the government is wasting tax dollars by paying additional government employees to ensure that taxpayer money is not used for abortions. SEGREGATION OF FUNDS will great additional administrative overhead.
Johnson repeatedly points to a 2007 statement by Obama associated with Planned Parenthood when he was running for President, which has nothing to do with the various health care bills or Obama’s current position. Congress is writing the health care bills, not Obama. While Obama may like to see the abortions covered, he and his administration know it would be politically damaging.
Obama’s previous statements about covering abortion had to do with “equal” treatment for the poor because individuals with money will always be able to get abortions.



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Julie

posted August 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm


Stanek references Time magazine being the latest to agree with FactCheck.org. If (http://is.gd/2BCQg – “Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans”) and the Associated Press (http://is.gd/2BD9h – “Government insurance would allow coverage for abortion”) that it’s in there.
Time should actually read the Capp Amendment – it does not state:
“The member dues, or premiums, to pay for expanded abortion coverage would be segregated from the federal tax dollars by keeping the money in separate internal accounts. The problem is that all those who sign up for the public option would have to pay into the account for abortion coverage, an amount “not less than $1 per month,” according to the legislation. So in effect, anyone who wanted to sign up for the public option, a federally funded and administered program, would find themselves paying for abortion coverage.”
Page 4-5 in the Capps Amendment is the only reference to $1 per month, which has nothing to do with every individual paying $1 per month. The $1 per month is the lowest amount that can be used to calculate the cost for abortion coverage in a health insurance plan. The minimum extra amount paid for a health insurance policy with abortion coverage is $12 per year.
“15 (b) ACTUARIAL VALUE OF OPTIONAL SERVICE COVERAGE.-
(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commissioner shall estimate the basic per enrollee, per month cost, determined on an average actuarial basis, for including coverage under a basic plan of the services described in section 122(d)(4)(A).
(2) CONSIDERATIONS.-In making such estimate the Commissioner-
3 (A) .may take into account the impact on overall costs of the inclusion of such coverage, but may not take into account any cost reduction estimated to result from such services, including prenatal care, delivery, or postnatal care;
9 (B) shall estimate such costs as if such coverage were included for the entire population covered; and
(C) may not estimate such a cost at less than $1 per enrollee, per month.”
Individuals that are pro-choice or do not have a problem with abortions could easily argue that 3 (A) would increase their premiums because we all know it cost considerably more to have a baby rather than an abortion.
Stanek’s second reference goes to http://www.breitbart.com, which is the equivalent to referencing Fox’s Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck. The AP referenced source starts with information that is not accurate:
“Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue.
Federal funds for abortions are now restricted to cases involving rape, incest or danger to the health of the mother. Abortion opponents say those restrictions should carry over to any health insurance sold through a new marketplace envisioned under the legislation, an exchange where people would choose private coverage or the public plan.”
The purpose of the Capps Amendment was to reference the Hyde Amendment that restricts abortion to cases involving rape, incest or danger to the health of the mother.
Stanek said, “Most telling is that both House and Senate Democrat controlled committees have rejected several – 9, I think – amendments stating abortion would be explicitly excluded from coverage.”
It is common to reference to other related laws rather than repeating the law within another law.



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Julie

posted August 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm


Today, a new analysis from FactCheck.org. I have not yet thoroughly read the article. The article demonstrates the reason I am concerned that health care reform will not be achieved because of the extensive misinformation that is often purposely spread to cause fear and anger.
Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200 – August 28, 2009
A notorious analysis of the House health care bill contains 48 claims. Twenty-six of them are false and the rest mostly misleading. Only four are true.



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panthera

posted August 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm


Goodness, another sterling example of Christian charity.
Thanks so much, Julie.
Frankly, I think a woman who is the victim of rape, incest, incestuous rape (hard to imagine any other kind, actually) or whose doctors have concluded that carrying to term will kill her should be free to choose an abortion.
Once again, we get to see the uncompromising, hate filled face of the conservative Christians. When you aren’t beating up on helpless, desperate women, you are manipulating the emotions of the simple people to kill health care.
What terrible people you are. You may be Christian, but you worship at the alter of hatred.



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Timothy Bunn

posted August 29, 2009 at 10:19 am


OK, let’s just assume all health care reform proposals do cover unrestricted abortions. I object to my “hard-earned tax dollars” being used for capital punishment (a violation of the tenets of my religion, Roman Catholic) and for such unjust wars as that in Iraq. In the first instance, DNA testing is demonstrating that innocent people have certainly been killed in my government’s name, especially African Americans in the South, and with my tax dollar. In the second instance, many tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children — Iraqi and American — were killed despite the fact that Iraq neither had a role in 9/11 nor weapons of mass destruction — nor did it pose a threat to the United States. All of which leads me to believe the truth of the notion that many of you believe the sanctity of live begins at conception but ends at birth.



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Julie

posted August 29, 2009 at 10:28 am


Thank you panthera!
panthera said, “You may be Christian, but you worship at the alter of hatred.”
I disagree that anyone purposely spreading false or misleading information is a Christian, but they do give all Christians a black eye. Definition of a Christian: someone that follows the teachings of Christ.
I recommend that people spend some time reading what FactCheck actually says. Basically, they are making an unsupported conclusion that federal money would be used to pay for abortions that is similar to the unsupported statements made by Stanek and Johnson. FactCheck contradicts themselves several times, including within the same paragraph.
FactCheck, paragraph 3:
“The truth is that bills now before Congress don’t require federal money to be used for supporting abortion coverage. So the president is right to that limited extent. But it’s equally true that House and Senate legislation would allow a new “public” insurance plan to cover abortions, despite language added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for them. Obama has said in the past that “reproductive services” would be covered by his public plan, so it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that. Low- and moderate-income persons who would choose the “public plan” would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase it. Private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies. Therefore, we judge that the president goes too far when he calls the statements that government would be funding abortions “fabrications.”
Re-read the above paragraph – it is completely illogical. The end of the third sentence contradicts the rest of the paragraph. Their conclusion says the law forbidding the use of public funds would not be followed because Obama said the public plans should cover “reproductive services.” The same contradictory and illogical statements continue throughout the rest of the article.
FactCheck:
“The Capps amendment does contain a statement – as we noted in an earlier article – that prohibits the use of public money to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. That would still allow the public plan to cover all abortions, so long as the plans took in enough private money in the form of premiums paid by individuals or their employers.”
The above paragraph verifies that public money would NOT pay for abortion.
The following statement by FactCheck is NOT accurate and contradicts what they said in the previous sentences: “The Capps language also would allow private plans purchased with federal subsidies (“affordability credits” for low-income families and workers) to cover abortion.”
FactCheck, “As for other types of abortions, the Capps amendment leaves it to the secretary of Health and Human Services to decide whether or not they will be covered.”
Steven Waldman, “The two main bills (so far) do not, in fact, require a public option to cover abortion. However, they don’t prohibit abortion coverage either, instead leaving it up to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to decide, later, whether abortion would be included in a basic benefits package.”
Steven – how did you make the above determination? There is nothing in the Capps Amendment that states the above. The Capps Amendment states she/he will ensure that there is at least one policy that offers abortion coverage and one that does not cover abortions. It also states that she will determine whether the insurance policies comply with the law. I cannot find anything that allows her to determine “whether abortion would be included in a basic benefits package.” If “basic benefits package” means the minimum coverage for all policies, abortion is allowed per the Hyde Amendment.



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health insurer

posted March 8, 2010 at 2:01 pm


I think, a standart health care option should cover abortion.Otherwise why do we pay money?



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Ellie

posted March 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm


From reading this it seems that no one can agree. It also seems that the legislation is written, so that it makes future coverage more likely. If health care legislation is so important and if it is not about covering abortions, then why is abortion coverage written into the bill. Why are they so insistent that there be an abortion coverage option? This bill would have passed if that were deleted. It seems that the “right to abortion coverage” is more important than the health care legislation itself.



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Jackie

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm


First, insurance companies already cover abortion in many employee’s benefits. I know this as I worked for the largest health care insurance company in this nation. As long as the employer wanted it covered in their benefit plan it was. Elective or necessary, it did not matter. Secondly, any person who opposes a public plan that covers abortion ASSUMES that women who abort can’t afford their own insurance, or are disadvantaged. I find the opposite to be true. I have four friends who opted for the abortion option, instead of adoption or raising an unwanted child. All of them are college graduates. Three are teachers. Two are Evangelical Christians. One is Lutheran. One is Catholic. All paid out of their own pocket. The argument that covering abortions will increase the amount of abortions is faulty.



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vehicle check

posted December 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm


Thanks for any other informative blog. The place else may I am getting that type of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a venture that I am simply now operating on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such information.



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