Abortion, Healthcare Reform, and Self-Destructive Idiocy

Here's a bit of good news, The Hill reports that the author of an anti-abortion amendment to the House healthcare bill doesn't give a Senate version of the same bad law very favorable odds in the Senate.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Monday he thinks its unlikely the Senate will pass restrictions on funding for abortion similar to those passed by the House.

Stupak, the author of an amendment to the House's health reform bill that curtailed federal subsidies for coverage of abortion, told the Detroit Free Press it's unlikely the Senate will pass a similar amendment.

“I think it will be a tight vote,” Stupak told the paper. “I don’t think we will prevail in the Senate.”

Imagine my disappointment. The Yooper rep's amendment would basically kill the coverage of elective abortion in health insurance plans. Bart Stupak, a member of the C Street cult "The Family," thinks that healthcare reform means reducing coverage for women. I think that's what I dislike most about anti-abortion politicians -- they're arrogant and always fundamentally dishonest.

The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services took a look at the amendment and came to the conclusion that it would, in effect, end the coverage of entirely legal abortions by private insurers:

Industry-wide impact that will shift the standard of coverage for medically indicated abortions for all women: In view of how the health benefit services industry operates and how insurance product design responds to broad regulatory intervention aimed at reshaping product content, we conclude that the treatment exclusions under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange. As a result, Stupak/Pitts can be expected to move the industry away from current norms of coverage for medically indicated abortions. In combination with the Hyde Amendment, Stupak/Pitts will impose a coverage exclusion for medically indicated abortions on such a widespread basis that the health benefit services industry can be expected to recalibrate product design downward across the board in order to accommodate the exclusion in selected markets.

The argument for the amendment is that public funds shouldn't be used to pay for elective abortions. Whether this is a valid argument or not (and I'm with "not") is a question for another day. The fact is that it's already illegal. There's that fundamental dishonesty again; Stupak would end private coverage of abortion under the pretense of making an already illegal use of public funds even more illegal. If the concern is that tax dollars would be used for abortions, then the amendment is entirely unnecessary. In terms of real world consequence, it won't do anything but stop the coverage of elective abortion by private insurers. Given that, it's almost impossible to believe that this wasn't the intent.

So the death of a Senate version should be welcome news. And if elected officials were sane and honest, it would be -- although, in that case, the amendment would never have been introduced in the first place. But the truth is that the Republican party doesn't have a monopoly on lying crazies and some Democrats are threatening to derail healthcare reform entirely over this BS issue. According to that same Hill article, Sen. Ben
Nelson "has said he'd oppose ending a filibuster for any bill without the abortion restrictions, while Stupak has said he has the votes in the House to defeat a healthcare bill if his abortion provision is removed during conference with the Senate."

We've covered the dishonesty -- here's the crazy. Losing healthcare reform before going into the 2010 elections could be disastrous for Democrats. "If we don't pass this healthcare bill, not only is it a disaster for future healthcare efforts, it is a disaster for future efforts on the climate, on financial re-regulation, on jobs," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told MSNBC Monday. "You will have a divided and fractured Democratic Party. We have got to get this done."

Stupak, Nelson, and the rest of their idiot crew are threatening to handicap their own party's future over an underhanded, backdoor ban on private abortion coverage. I don't care how you feel about abortion, this would be stupid beyond words.


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