Barack Obama Voted Against Extending Health Care to Poor Pregnant Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 30, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama Voted Against Extending Health Care to Pregnant Women, Unborn

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 30
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Barack Obama claims he is the best candidate when it comes to improving health care for Americans and he touted better health care during the first presidential debate. However, his record is blemished with a vote against extending a health care program to cover pregnant women and their unborn children.

The State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) is a federal program that provides funds to states to provide health care services to children of low-income families.

Under a Bush administration proposal, states have the option of extending that coverage to unborn children — which automatically qualifies pregnant women for coverage as well during their pregnancy.

Because this is an administrative rule and could be changed by a future president, like Obama, Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado offered an amendment earlier this year to put the rule in existing law and make helping pregnant women and children permanent.

The Allard Amendment would have written explicit language into the SCHIP statute to guarantee coverage for women and children.

"When a pregnancy is involved, there are at least two patients; there is the mother and there is the baby. It only makes sense to cover the unborn child under a children’s health program," Allard said during the debate. "The bill before us modifies the SCHIP statute to allow to cover pregnant women of any age."

"There are many conditions that can affect the mother’s health during pregnancy that are not related to her pregnancy," he added. "We should be allowing mothers to stay healthy so they will have healthy babies."

While senators from across the political spectrum — including Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Ben Nelson of Nebraska– voted for it, Obama opposed the measure.

The vote provided another clear contrast between Obama and Sen. John McCain, who supported pregnant women and their unborn children by backing the amendment.

Senator Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate, also voted against the health care coverage.

Allard said the coverage would have led to reduced costs associated with premature or low birth-weight babies.

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