...another reason why bluedog democrats will not bite...sorry liberals...sneaky...sneaky...
Associated Press becomes first “mainstream” media outlet to report abortion mandate
As Congress begins its summer vacation, many journalists are finally getting a chance to dig a little deeper than the talking points and White House press conferences and catch up on all of the behind-the-scenes battles in the healthcare reform debate. Yesterday, the Associated Press became the first “mainstream” media outlet to report on the hidden abortion mandate in healthcare reform legislation being considered on Capitol Hill.
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 life 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. (AP: “Gov’t insurance would allow coverage for abortion“)
For weeks now, HealthcareHorserace.com has been covering this issue in anticipation of a major battle over abortion that could stall, if not defeat, Democrat efforts to push for healthcare reform that would lead to unprecedented government intervention in the healthcare industry.
In the House, the Capps Amendment calls for taxpayer funds to be used to finance elective abortion procedures under a public option insurance plan. The amendment also mandates that all Americans have access to at least one private plan that covers abortion procedures.
In the Senate, the Mikulski Amendment would require insurance agencies (public or private) to contract with “essential community providers” to provide healthcare services to Americans earning less than 400% of the poverty level ($88,000 for a family of four) or risk losing the right to participate in mandatory state “American Health Benefit Gateways” as established under the HELP bill. During a protracted debate over the amendment, Mikulski admitted that Planned Parenthood qualified as an “essential community provider.” Requiring insurance companies to cover “any service deemed medically necessary or medically appropriate” by these “essential community providers” amounts to an aboriton mandate in the eyes of many conservative and pro-life advocates.
All evidence points to an unwelcome floor debate on abortion in the House and Senate when lawmakers return post-Labor Day. As Democrats try to pass healthcare reform legislation by mid-October, they’ll be faced with opposition from vulnerable and Blue Dog Democrats who could very well lose their seats in the 2010 election if they vote for a pro-abortion reform bill. If reform legislation does make its way to President Obama’s desk, look for a battle in the courts with the first serious Supreme Court showdown over abortion since Roe v. Wade in 1973.