Abortion, Public Option Could Derail Senate’s Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
December 7, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When the Senate ultimately votes for both an amendment to cut the abortion funding from the health care bill and the cloture motion to end debate and allow a vote on the bill itself, more evidence is emerging that abortion and the public option (the government-run aspect of the bill) could kill the bill entirely.
The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on the Nelson-Hatch amendment to remove the massive abortion funding from the legislation.
Should the Senate defeat the Nelson amendment, as senators on both sides of the abortion divide believe will happen, Nelson has already said he will join Republicans in filibustering the bill itself.
This weekend, Democratic senators and their staff worried about how to find 60 votes to end debate on the bill given the Nelson defection.
There is a worry that Sen. Nelson means business, one top aide told Politico this weekend. Unlike with public option, there is very little ground liberal Democrats are willing to give on this issue. Abortion, not the public option, may be the cause of our first official defection.
But the public option, as CNS News indicates today in new interviews with two lawmakers, could likely cause more defections on a bill that funds abortions and opens the door to forcing insurance companies to pay for them.
Asked if there is any reason he could see that would find him voting for cloture if the bill includes the government-run option, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said no.
I cannot see one for this reason, Lieberman said.
Lieberman talked about his historic support for health care reform and reasons why it is needed, but added, to me, the public option, so-called, which is really a government-created and government-run insurance company, doesn’t support any of those purposes."
Should Lieberman join Nelson in opposing the bill and supporting the filibuster, Democrats would be down to 58 votes (less if other Senators like Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu or Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln join them).
To counter those losses, Senate leader Harry Reid would need to pick up one or both of the pro-abortion Republicans — Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins.
However, Collins told CNS News today that she won’t back the bill if it has the public option (and Snow doesn’t favor the current government-run option either).
I do not support and think it is unwise policy to create a government-owned, government-run insurance company, Collins said.
Sensing this opposition, Reid urged a group of senators to seek a compromise and one idea calls for national nonprofit insurance plans to be administered by the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Snowe, who called the possible compromise "a positive development" favors the idea and met with Obama at the White House on Saturday.
Regardless of what happens in the debate on whether to water down the current government option in the bill, without the Nelson amendment (and even with the amendment added) pro-life groups will be united against the Senate bill and call for lawmakers to defeat it.
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