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Barry, even as another health care plan is being introduced into Congress, there’s a continuing – and a very real – concern about the issue of abortion.
Senators Michael Enzi of Wyoming and Charles Grassley of Iowa have expressed their concern to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus who is offering his own health care measure. Senators Enzi and Grassley are correctly concerned about the lack of language in the bill.
According to the New York Times report:
Mr. Enzi and Mr. Grassley also told Mr. Baucus that health legislation must include language affirmatively prohibiting the use of federal money to pay for abortion. The restriction, they said, should apply to any subsidies that help low-income people buy insurance. In addition, they said, health plans should not be obliged to provide abortion. Thus, they said, the bill should “include a conscience clause to protect entities from being required to contract with abortion providers.”
And, now to the Capps Amendment. Barry, those who advocate for federal funding of abortion probably do consider the Capps Amendment to be “a brilliantly conceived resolution” as you called it. I, however, consider it to be an open door to federal funding of abortion, especially if the pro-abortion majority in Congress scraps the Hyde Amendment.
Under the Capps Amendment, the public option is required to cover abortion for which federal funding is permitted. Under the Capps Amendment, if the Hyde Amendment, which must be approved annually, is deleted, abortion will become a mandated benefit in the public option. Furthermore, the Capps Amendment insures that there is at least one plan that covers elective abortion in each rating area. It doesn’t, however, mandate that there be a plan that covers no abortion. Rather, it mandates that there be at least one plan that does not cover abortion for which federal funding is prohibited. This plan may or may not include abortions for which public funding is permitted.
With respect to the federal funding of abortion under the Capps Amendment, the Amendment attempts to set up accounting mechanisms to segregate federal funds from abortion payments; however, in practice, the federal government would be subsidizing plans that cover abortion. I don’t think that it is a “bizarre stretch” of the imagination to argue that giving federal funds to health care plans that include abortion services will constitute federal funding of abortion. Directly or indirectly, those funds free up other funds to pay for abortion services.
Finally, if Members of Congress were serious about not mandating abortion coverage and not including federally funded abortions in the bill then they would have approved amendments in Committee that accomplished these goals. Instead, they voted down the amendments.
They also allowed the inclusion of provisions, such as the school-based health care provision, that could provide funding for Planned Parenthood to operate clinics in and near our nation’s schools.
It is also clear that President Obama’s health care plan does not have the support of most Americans. On the polling front, Rasmussen reports that 45% of Americans favor his plan, while 52% are opposed.
Even, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News reported that President Obama’s speech to Congress last week was “no game-changer.”
And, the Washington Post/ABC poll conducted in the three days after the President’s speech finds that a clear majority – 54% of Americans say the more they hear about President Obama’s health care plan, the less they like it. And, when it comes to how Americans view President Obama’s handling of health care, the disapproval numbers are up, and approval numbers continue to decline over the last five months. “comprehensive reproductive health care.”
I, however, could not vote for a bill, such as those being considered by Congress, that lack specific language prohibiting both the mandating of abortion coverage and the direct or indirect federal funding of abortion.
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