Mikulski Amendment Draws More Opposition, Says Abortion is Preventative Care
by Steven Ertelt
December 2, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As the Senate prepares for a possible vote today on the Mikulski amendment to the Senate version of the government-run health care bill, it is drawing more opposition. Americans United for Life joins the National Right to Life Committee in condemning the amendment for calling abortion preventative health care.
As LifeNews.com reported yesterday, NRLC condemned the Mikulski amendment because it would essentially define abortion as preventative care and could persuade private insurance plans to define abortion as such and provide coverage of it.
AUL staff attorney Mary Harned has released her own analysis of the amendment and concurs with NRLC that it presents problems.
"The Mikulski amendment, in pertinent part, requires group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance to provide coverage for and not impose cost sharing requirements on ‘preventative care’ for women ‘as provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),’" she explained.
"While this amendment does not explicitly require abortion coverage, it also fails to explicitly exclude it," Harned warned.
"The HRSA could categorize abortion as ‘preventative care’ and would therefore recommend coverage for abortion by all qualifying private plans," she explained.
While the Mikulski amendment likely wouldn’t mandate that private insurance plans cover abortions, the pro-life attorney says it could persuade them to do so.
"The Senate bill explicitly provides that qualified health (private) plans will not be forced to cover abortions (section 1303(a)(1)(A)(i))," she said. "Therefore, it is unlikely that any recommendation by the HRSA to cover abortions would be interpreted as binding on private plans."
"Nonetheless, if the HRSA categorizes abortion as ‘preventative care’ and recommends its coverage, such an action could have a coercive effect on insurance companies and would further the abortion lobbys agenda of mainstreaming abortion as health care," she added.
Ultimately, Harned said her group "strongly supports preventative care for women" but added "the Mikulski Amendment should be amended to include language prohibiting abortion from being included in the HRSA guidelines."
In its letter to members of the Senate, the National Right to Life Committee also urged strong opposition to the Mikulski amendment unless it was amended to exclude abortion.
"If Congress were to grant any Executive Branch entity sweeping authority to define services that private health plans must cover, merely by declaring a given service to constitute ‘preventive care’ then that authority could be employed in the future to require all health plans to cover abortions," NRLC explains.
"Therefore, NRLC opposes both the Mikulski Amendment No.2791, and the underlying language of Section 1001, unless additional language is added to explicitly exclude abortion from the universe of services that might be mandated as ‘preventive care,’" the letter said.
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