What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 10, 2009

More On Stupak's Amendment

From Talkingpointsmemo:
The letter of the amendment itself suggests that women who want to buy an insurance plan that covers abortion must not also be receiving government subsidies, provided for in the bill, to help cover their premiums. However, the overwhelming majority of women in the health insurance exchanges will be receiving subsidies from the government, and if any of them decide they want abortion coverage, under the terms of the Stupak amendment, they'd have to buy a supplemental plan paid for out of pocket.
But that's not all:
But in an interview with TPMDC, [the Director of the Women's Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress, Jessica] Arons suggests it may be even more complicated than that. One of the pillars of reform legislation is a provision called "guaranteed issue," which holds, basically, that insurers in the exchange must sell consumers whichever insurance policies they choose. However, the Stupak amendment would explicitly forbid people who are provided government subsidies from buying policies that cover abortion--and that contradiction could run afoul of the promise of guaranteed issue from day one.

"It's a somewhat open question about how those two provisions would interact," Arons says.

For the two measures to work in tandem, she says, either every plan in the exchange would have to be prevented from offering abortion coverage, or the guaranteed issue provision would have to be modified. "I would think there would have to be some sort of specific exemption to the guaranteed issue provision," Arons says.
There's more from Arons at the Wonk Room - including something the OPJ has already posted:
The claim that it only bars federal funding for abortions is simply false.
Arons then describes what the Amendment actually does, including:
It effectively bans coverage for most abortions from all public and private health plans in the Exchange. In addition to prohibiting direct government funding for abortion, it also prohibits public money from being spent on any plan that covers abortion even if paid for entirely with private premiums. Therefore, no plan that covers abortion services can operate in the Exchange unless its subscribers can afford to pay 100% of their premiums with no assistance from government “affordability credits.” As the vast majority of Americans in the Exchange will need to use some of these credits, it is highly unlikely any plan will want to offer abortion coverage.
It allows for a useless abortion “rider”: Stupak and his allies claim his Amendment doesn’t ban abortion from the Exchange because it allows plans to offer and women to purchase extra, stand-alone insurance known as a rider to cover abortion services. Hopefully the irony of this is immediately apparent: Stupak wants women to plan for a completely unexpected event.

Over on MSNBC, Dr Nancy Snyderman had some choice words about the amendment:
[Y]ou know what I find so infuriating about this? I mean, absolutely infuriating? And this isn't about being pro-choice or pro-abortion or any of the hot button lingo. We know women pay more for insurance than men. We know women are restricted in the states. And now it's basically, if you're a 50 year old woman and you're in a monogamous relationship you suddenly find yourself pregnant, you better know that have an abortion rider in order to access health care that you thought you had? It is one more pressure on women. I mean, I'm surprised that frankly there isn't more outrage over the fact that ...this isn't fair!
And she sums it up:
A white man deciding a woman's…… a woman's responsibility in her own procreation. I mean I ... I find it infuriating. I mean, I really think it doesn't matter what side of the abortion issue or pro-choice issue you're on, the fact that they are now making health care harder and harder for women to navigate the system. I think it's outrageous—just outrageous. Kelly O'Donnell, thank you so much.

And folks it's not about abortion. It really is about one more burden for women navigating the health care system.
And our Congressional friends Mike Doyle and Jason Altmire both voted for the Amendment.

Thanks, guys.


cpsperanza said...

The so-called Stupak amendment included in the House bill would prevent women eligible for government tax credits for health insurance from using that money to enroll in any plan that covers abortion. Of 258 House Democrats, 64 voted for the amendment, along with 176 Republicans, guaranteeing its passage. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120254656

Maria said...

It goes further than that.

Any insurance plan in the Public Exchange would be prohibited from providing coverage for elective abortions.

Currently 85% of insurance plans cover elective abortion.

Even if a woman uses entirely her own funds to purchase a plan off the exchange, she could not purchase a plan that would cover abortions.

This is NOT just about preventing using govement funds to pay for abortions -- that's already ilegal.