Pro-Lifers See Max Baucus Bill as "Max Bogus" Bill

Pro-Lifers See Max Baucus Bill as "Max Bogus" Bill


I know we live in an ADD society so let me just sum up the pro-life response to the health care bill in the Senate Finance Committee:

"You're kidding, right?"

Let me give you a visual of their reaction. See below:

Or how about this? Let me give you a short little video summing up their reaction. Pretend Max Baucus is George Bush. Watch below.

This Max Baucus bill might want to be re titled as the Max Bogus bill. Pro-lifers ain't digging it. Expect the abortion dialogue to just keep getting louder and louder. A fight over abortion language is the last thing The White House needs. The administration would make a mistake if they think the pushback on abortion is just coming from conservative pro-life groups. If they don’t address the abortion language in both the Senate and House bills, this could come back to bite them with Independents and Catholic voters who were important to Barack Obama’s efforts to win The White House in the first place.

Health Care reform will probably get done but in what form exactly? The White House will need to put out fires on abortion, illegal immigration, the public option, co-ops, and cost containment. There’s going to be so much “kvetching” before this thing is over. (That “Kvetch” reference is my Yiddish salute to Rosh Hashanah since I will be celebrating it this weekend with family in NYC. Look up what “Kvetch” means here.)

Reaction on the Baucus abortion language is below from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life.

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

"Senator Baucus' new health care bill puts to rest the President's claim that 'abortion is not included' in the Senate health care bill. The Baucus plan includes abortion, pure and simple. Like the Capps abortion amendment in the House bill, the Baucus plan would subsidize health plans that cover elective abortions but with tax credits. The accounting used in the bill is a matter of smoke and mirrors, since elective abortion is authorized for health plans receiving government subsidies.

"The Baucus bill goes even farther by mandating that there be at least one health plan in each region across the country which covers elective abortions. Such a government mandate of abortion-covered plans in each state exchange and subsidizing such plans does little to prevent 'federal funding of abortion' as President Obama said last week. Moreover, the Baucus bill would spend $6 billion to establish health care co-ops and this funding could be used for elective abortion because it is not subject to the Hyde Amendment appropriations provision.

"If President Obama is serious about preventing funding for abortion in health care reform, he should immediately support adoption of Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak's amendment to exclude abortion from all health care reform legislation. Democrat Senator Bob Casey voted for such an amendment in the Senate Health Committee.

"It's time for President Obama to stop the smoke and mirrors on abortion and health care and straightforwardly tell Congress to permanently exclude abortion coverage."

Douglas Johnson, National Right to Life

The "America's Healthy Future Act," proposed today by Senator Max Baucus (D-Mt.), contains an array of pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for elective abortion.  National Right to Life strongly opposes the legislation in its current form.  We will work in support of amendments to eliminate the abortion mandates and federal abortion subsidies.

The bill contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion.  This would be a drastic break from longstanding federal policy, under which federal funds do not pay for elective abortions or subsidize health plans that cover elective abortions.  For example, current law prohibits any of the over 250 private health plans that participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program from paying for elective abortions, because these plans receive federal subsidies.  These private plans cover over 8 million federal employees and dependents, including members of Congress.

Thus, under the Baucus bill, like the House Democratic leadership bill (H.R. 3200), federal funds would subsidize coverage of elective abortions.  In addition, the Baucus bill requires that a specific charge must be included in the premiums paid by those who enroll in such subsidized plans, of at least "$1 per enrollee, per month," which amounts to a surcharge specifically for elective abortions.

These bills are not consistent with President Obama's September 9 claim that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions," or with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius's September 13 affirmation that "no public funds would go to fund abortions."  Funds spent by federal agencies are, by law, federal funds.  The claim that under these bills, a federal agency would use "private funds" to subsidize abortions is absurd on its face -- a political hoax.

In addition, the Baucus bill provides $6 billion in federal funds for the establishment of health insurance cooperatives, without any limitation on the use of these funds to pay for abortions or to subsidize plans that pay for elective abortions.

In addition, the Baucus bill contains language that would allow the federal government to declare abortion to be a "mandated benefit as part of a minimum benefits package" in any circumstances in which the federal Medicaid program could pay for an abortion.  Currently, the federal Medicaid program pays for abortion only in three limited circumstances:  to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest.  But that limitation depends on language, the Hyde Amendment, that expires every September 30, and that must be renewed annually as part of the Health and Human Services appropriations bill.  Under the Baucus language, if one house of Congress, and/or the President, blocked renewal of the Hyde Amendment, many private insurance plans could be forced to include abortion on demand as a mandatory benefit in the minimum benefits package.  This would be another major departure from the status quo.  (Currently, only 13 percent of all abortions are billed directly to private insurance, according to the Guttmacher Institute.) 




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