Abortion insurance

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Pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) tells the AP why he can’t support the current House bill on health reform.

Stupak says language specifying that someone obtaining an abortion
must use her own money, not federal money from the subsidies, doesn’t
go far enough because it’s impossible to clearly segregate funds in
that way.

“Once you get the affordability credits (subsidies) in
there, that’s public funding of abortion. We’re not going there,”
Stupak said. “How do you get past the affordability credits is really
the issue. And we can’t.”

This confuses “public funding of abortion” with “public funding of abortion coverage.” What the bill would do is provide a subsidy to help a woman purchase an insurance policy. The subsidy could not, under the Hyde Amendment, go towards that portion of the plan that covers abortion–presumably, under a separate rider whose price tag would be determined by the insurance company. If the woman chose to purchase the rider, and then obtained an abortion, the company would pay for it, as it would any other medical treatment covered by the plan.

What Stupak and his allies oppose is heath care legislation to help purchase policies that could include abortion if other monies were added. By that logic, they should support ending Medicaid, since states can and not a few states do add their own funds to provide Medicaid recipients with abortion coverage. 

Addendum: Think about Stupak’s use of the phrase “affordability credits.” What are affordability credits? They’re vouchers–as in the education vouchers so beloved of conservatives, that inoculate public money from the taint of Establishment Clause violation because they go directly to individuals, not religious institutions. Only in this case instead of public money going directly (via vouchers) to religious schools, it would only go to help pay for the (non-abortion) portion of a health insurance policy, with the insurance company paying for the abortion with non-government money. Call it twice (or thrice) inoculated.

I’ve made this case before, so let me just say here that, if the pro-health care reform folks had their heads in the abortion question, they would be emphasizing that what they’re talking about with the subsidies are health care vouchers. Like education vouchers. Get it?