Analysis Finds Baucus Health Care Bill Contains Abortion Subsidies, Mandates
by Steven Ertelt
September 16, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — An analysis from the National Right to Life Committee of the new bill Senator Max Baucus unveiled today finds massive abortion subsidies and mandates. The bill comes as an attempt to find compromise but hasn’t earned Republican support in part because of the abortion funding.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for NRLC, walked LifeNews.com through the Baucus bill provisions and explained how they allow government-funded abortions.
The America’s Healthy Future Act "contains an array of pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for elective abortion," he explained.
"National Right to Life strongly opposes the legislation in its current form. We will work in support of amendments to eliminate the abortion mandates and federal abortion subsidies," he said.
As LifeNews.com is reporting today, those amendments will come next Tuesday when the Senate Finance Committee votes on changes to the Baucus bill.
"The bill contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion," Johnson explains. "This would be a drastic break from longstanding federal policy, under which federal funds do not pay for elective abortions or subsidize health plans that cover elective abortions."
Johnson pointed out how current law prohibits any of the more than 250 private health plans in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, which covers 8 million federal employees, family and members of Congress, from paying for abortions, because these plans receive federal subsidies.
"Thus, under the Baucus bill, like the House Democratic leadership bill (H.R. 3200), federal funds would subsidize coverage of elective abortions," he said.
"In addition, the Baucus bill requires that a specific charge must be included in the premiums paid by those who enroll in such subsidized plans, of at least ‘$1 per enrollee, per month,’ which amounts to a surcharge specifically for elective abortions," Johnson adds.
"Funds spent by federal agencies are, by law, federal funds. The claim that under these bills, a federal agency would use ‘private funds’ to subsidize abortions is absurd on its face — a political hoax," he said.
The Baucus bill provides $6 billion in federal funds for the establishment of health insurance cooperatives and Johnson says no limits are in place to make sure that money is not used to pay for abortions or for plans that pay for abortions.
Meanwhile, the Baucus bill would allow the federal government to declare abortion to be a "mandated benefit as part of a minimum benefits package" in any circumstances in which the federal Medicaid program could pay for an abortion.
Under the Hyde Amendment, the federal government only pays for abortions under Medicaid for women facing rape, incest, or when the pregnancy threatens her life.
Because the Hyde Amendment expires every September 30 and must be renewed by a Congress where a pro-life majority is not always present, as is the case now, that opens the door for more abortion funding.
"Under the Baucus language, if one house of Congress, and/or the President, blocked renewal of the Hyde Amendment, many private insurance plans could be forced to include abortion on demand as a mandatory benefit in the minimum benefits package," Johnson said.
Since, according to the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute, just 13 percent of all abortions are billed directly to private insurance, that would be a "major departure from the status quo," Johnson says.
Ultimately, the pro-life legislative analyst says the bill is at odds with President Barack Obama’s request in his health care speech last week that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions."
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.NRLC.org
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.