A new article in Time (read it here) calls out the President for misinforming the public about abortion coverage and the public option health care plan. “You’ve heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion,” Obama said recently in a call to religious leaders. “Not true.” The article provides a detailed explanation about how the public option will in fact use public funds to pay for abortion services, something the government has historically strayed away from.
Here are a few highlights:
The health-care reform proposed by House Democrats, if enacted, would in fact mark a significant change in the Federal Government’s role in the financing of abortions. “It would be a dramatic shift,” says Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat…
To understand the change, one must first look at the strictly hands-off role the Federal Government has historically taken toward abortion services. Since 1976, Congress has mandated through the so-called Hyde Amendment that no federal funds will be used for abortion, effectively preventing Medicaid dollars from being used for the procedure, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Private health plans offered to government employees, including members of Congress, have also been barred from offering abortion coverage, as has the military.
The health-care-reform bill proposed by House Democrats does not actually override those restrictions. But it does find a way for the Federal Government to expand the coverage of abortion services through a government-run program — the so-called public option — without spending what it defines as federal dollars on abortion. Instead, the only money the public insurance option could spend on abortion that does not involve rape, incest or the life of the mother would be money collected from members’ dues…
The problem is that all those who sign up for the public option would have to pay into the account for abortion coverage, an amount “not less than $1 per month,” according to the legislation.
So in effect, anyone who wanted to sign up for the public option, a federally funded and administered program, would find themselves paying for abortion coverage. “You are spreading the cost of the procedure over a public plan,”explains Stupak.
Under the legislation, the Executive Branch would have to make a determination that abortion is a basic medical service for the service to be provided, something the Obama Administration is expected to do.
Maybe President Obama has not had time to read through and fully understand the bill or maybe he just assumes we could not possibly understand it? Either way, he needs to do his own fact checking and stop spreading misinformation. The public option does include coverage for abortions, making a previously elected procedure a basic medical service that everyone has to pay for.