Baucus Health Care Bill Also Opens Door for Taxpayer-Funding of Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
September 16, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — With the two main health care bills in the House and Senate already including massive funding for abortions, pro-life advocates have been carefully watching to see whether the new bill presented by Sen. Max Baucus would fund abortions as well. Early indicates are that it does.
Baucus, a Montana Democrat who is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had been working with a group of six lawmakers on the legislation but crafted the final bill on his own after losing their support.
The measure, known as Americas Health Future Act, comes in at 223 pages and the committee is expected to debate the bill and amendments to it — which will likely included proposals to ban all abortion funding — next week.
The early analysis of the bill, according to pro-life advocates on Capitol Hill who have been in touch with LifeNews.com, is that the Baucus bill incorporates language that is very similar to the phony Capps amendment to H.R. 3200.
That is the amendment the House Energy and Commerce Committee adopted that President Barack Obama and abortion advocates in Congress have been using to mislead the public into thinking abortions are not covered.
The Baucus bill does not include a public plan option and therefore the component of the Capps amendment that authorized HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to pay for abortion through the public option is not relevant.
However, the bill provides $6 billion for the establishment of health insurance cooperatives which would be permitted to cover abortion, the pro-life source told LifeNews.com.
Also, contrary to the current federal practice of not subsidizing plans that cover abortion, the Baucus bill will allow refundable, advanceable tax-credits and cost-sharing credits to be applied to plans that pay for abortion.
As was the case with the Capps amendment, this is done via an accounting gimmick which is employed to label the funds as private because they come from taxpayers to the federal government before being used as tax subsidies for abortions.
To achieve this accounting requirement, plans that cover abortion will collect a mandatory abortion surcharge from each premium payer as a part of each subsidized premium payment.
Under Baucus, abortions permitted under the Hyde amendment (which currently allows funding for abortions in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother) can be mandated in the minimum benefits package. If abortion advocates are successful in overturning or weakening the Hyde amendment, the Baucus proposal will result in further mandated abortion coverage in the minimum benefits package.
As pro-life advocates have made clear, the Hyde amendment would not apply to the health care bills because it only deals with Medicaid.
Because of these features of the Baucus bill, pro-life lawmakers will very likely be pushing for language in the committee next week to mitigate the concerns.
If the amendments are not adopted, pro-life groups will accurately refer to the Baucus bill as funding abortions with federal dollars. Obama and supporters of the bill will likely continue to refer to the phony language as banning abortion funding.
A vote next week on pro-life amendments would follow one from this summer in which another Senate committee defeated an amendment to stop tax-funded abortions.
When the Finance committee does vote, the pro-life side starts with a disadvantage as the committee is dominated 14-8 by abortion advocates with all of the Democrats on the panel and one Republican, Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, backing abortion.
ACTION: Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to support amendments to make sure abortion funding and coverage are specifically excluded from the Baucus bill. You can find members of the panel here. https://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/committee.htm
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