More Pro-Life Groups Say Baucus Health Care Bill Contains Abortion Funding
by Steven Ertelt
September 17, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Senator Max Baucus has introduced a government-run health care plan that he hopes will become a compromise bill that can move forward. However, the initial analysis is that the bill contains both abortion funding and mandates and now more pro-life organizations are saying that is the case.
National Right to Life noted yesterday that the Baucus bill — known as the America’s Healthy Future Act — "contains an array of pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for elective abortion."
Americans United for Life has also released an analysis saying the bill "deals with the issue of abortion by incorporating similar language to the Capps amendment to H.R. 3200, which does not explicitly exclude abortion coverage and funding; in fact, the Capps Amendment mandates abortion funding."
This bill provides $6 billion for the establishment of health insurance cooperatives which would be permitted to cover abortion," AUL president Charmaine Yoest told LifeNews.com late Wednesday.
"Under the Baucus bill, abortions permitted under the Hyde amendment (currently in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother) can be mandated in the minimum benefits package," she explained. "If the Hyde Amendment is ever eliminated, the Baucus bill would mandate coverage for all abortions."
Like NRLC, her group promised to oppose the Baucus bill unless it is amended to specifically exclude abortion funding and alleviate other pro-life concerns.
"Real health care respects life and the pro-life community will never support any bill that does not explicitly say that abortion funding and coverage is not allowed," she said.
Mary Harned, Americans United for Lifes staff counsel, cautioned that amendments to stop abortion funding may not be enough because the bill will likely be combined with the Kennedy measure, that includes abortion funding. Thus, any pro-life amendments could be eliminated later in the legislative process.
"Even if language expressly excluding abortion funding and coverage is added to the bill, it will then need to be reconciled with the bill reported from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee," she explains. "After that process, the bill will then: (1) go through an amendment process on the Senate Floor; (2) go to conference where it will be reconciled with whatever bill the House produces.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, also noted the abortion funding. He says the bill undermine’s Obama’s claim that he doesn’t want taxpayer-funding of abortions.
"Senator Baucus’ new health care bill puts to rest the President’s claim that ‘abortion is not included’ in the Senate health care bill," he said.
"The Baucus legislation explicitly includes abortion and would subsidize health plans that cover all elective abortions," he continued.
Perkins explained how the bill "moves well beyond the status quo of preventing federal funds from paying for abortion or subsidizing plans that covers abortion as is prevented under current laws governing Medicaid, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan and the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan."
As AUL and NRLC have said, Perkins says the Baucus bill employs an accounting gimmick similar to the one used in the main House bill.
"Like the Capps abortion amendment in the House bill, the Baucus plan would subsidize health plans that cover elective abortions but with tax credits," he told LifeNews.com. "The accounting used in the bill is a matter of smoke and mirrors, since elective abortion is authorized for health plans receiving government subsidies."
But Perkins warned the "Baucus bill goes even farther by mandating that there be at least one health plan in each region across the country which covers elective abortions."
"Such a government mandate of abortion-covered plans in each state exchange and subsidizing such plans does little to prevent ‘federal funding of abortion’ as President Obama said last week," he said.
"Moreover, the Baucus bill would spend $6 billion to establish health care co-ops and this funding could be used for elective abortion because it is not subject to the Hyde Amendment appropriations provision," Perkins continued.
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