Abortion-funding: As usual, there are mixed signals on whether or not the proposed legislation will provide for government-funded abortions. The White House has not said much about this of late. But, in a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood, Obama said “reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care. And so it is at the center, the heart of the plan that I propose.” He went on to indicate that any private insurers must “abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care” in order to receive federal subsidies. In other words, elective abortion will be included in the “essential benefits” mandated by the government.
What does H.R. 3200 say about abortion? Both sides acknowledge that elective abortion is indeed covered via the “public option” proposed by this bill. The debate is whether federal money would be used. The recently passed Capps Amendment is supposed to allow only those types of abortions covered by the Hyde Amendment (see below) and to limit payments for said abortions to that amount contributed by the insured and/or their employer, thereby leaving federal subsidies (aka “affordability credits”) untouched. But even some conservative Democrats are pointing out that, under a “public plan” where the government is the “single payer”, all payments – including for abortions – come from a federal account.
So, whether on a “public plan” (by choice or otherwise) or a private plan, a pro-lifer will end up helping to finance abortions. Once those premiums are paid into “the pot”, the insured has no say in what those funds are used for. And in the case of the “public plan”, it all effectively becomes federal money and every procedure is financed by a federal agency according to federal statutes and regulations.
What about the Hyde Amendment, which prevents Medicaid funds from being used for abortions, except for cases involving incest, rape, or to save the mother’s life? While the President has said that there are no plans to change it, the fact is that the Hyde Amendment is an addition to the annual Health and Human Services Department appropriations bill, so Congress can vote to modify or reverse it at any time. More to the point, funding received for Obamacare would not go through the HHS, so any restrictions covered by Hyde or anything else would be irrelevant.
When speaking to general or right-leaning audiences, Democrats assure us there are no abortion-funding provisions in the bill. But amongst themselves, they assure fellow liberals that “abortion will be covered by one or more of the health care plans available to Americans.” (Zoe Lofgren, D-CA). Finally, on July 30, 2009, House Democrats voted out an amendment that would have explicitly forbidden federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. That says a lot. (Notably, that same day they killed another amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from getting government-funded health care.)
Is it any wonder that those who promote the sanctity of human life are very troubled by this scenario?
Every one of the issues examined here certainly sound like legitimate concerns about the effects of Obamacare to me. People are just plain scared, worried, and angry with Democrats and Left-wingers for trying to pass such things through the legislature, let alone trying to “shove this down our throats.” Even if you disagree on some points, can you really blame them?