I’ve already written that the health care reform bill that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced includes tax increases, some of which, start in 2010, while the legislation’s answer to health care reform won’t start until 2014.
The Senate’s version of the health care reform includes a mandate for Federally subsidized abortion. CNSNews.com reports:
The mandate appears on page 120 of the 2,074-page bill under the seemingly innocuous heading: ‘Assured Availability of Varied Coverage Through Exchanges.”
Specifically, the provision requires that the secretary of Health and Human Services make certain that at least one health insurance plan offered in government-regulated insurance exchanges where people will be able to purchase health insurance using government subsidies must provide coverage of abortion. The secretary also must make certain that at least one plan available in the exchanges not cover abortions. (read the whole article)
Ed Morrissey asks some key questions about this section of the bill:
What happens when no insurer in the state offers abortion coverage? At the moment, 87% of all abortions are purchased outside of third-party payers, so this is not an academic question. Do the feds intend to shut down an exchange that doesn’t offer an abortion plan? Or do they expect the states then to cover abortions instead?
Morrissey also notes that the Hyde Amendment that liberals keep referring to has to be re-enacted every year. When that fails to pass then federal money can then go through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund abortion. He then writes:
Once Congress stops re-enabling the Hyde Amendment, the mandates in Reid’s Section 1303 will force the federal government to supply the coverage for abortion where state exchanges have none. It will give the federal government an entree into broader health-insurance offerings, and that will have one ironic effect: it will crowd out those few private insurance plans that offer elective abortion coverage. Where Stupak’s opponents insisted that his language would create a “price signal” that would encourage private insurers to abandon abortion coverage, this would all but guarantee the same result, as private insurers would get undercut by the federal plan that would come into play.
Sarah Palin notes in a Facebook post last night how this legislation impacts families with children with special needs:
Among the provisions in this bill will be a $2500 cap on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The IRS allows families with special needs children to use FSAs to cover educational expenses. This new $2500 cap will hit these families especially hard and cost them hundreds of dollars in new taxes every year.
It also doesn’t include any tort reform measures which would make a real impact on the cost of health care.
We are seeing again the transparency of the Democrats. Here we are facing another Saturday vote on a motion that would bring this bill before the full Senate for consideration. If passed they will come back after Thanksgiving break to debate it. This bill has so many problems that Harry & Company have to bribe one of their members for their vote, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is doing much to help her state’s reputation.
Contact your Senator today and tell them to vote no.
Update: Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) voicemail was full. How convenient. My out-of-touch Senator sees this bill as a “Good Deal for America.” I can’t write what I’d like to say. Be sure, if you live in Iowa, to email him.
2nd Update: Unfortunately Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) caved (wonder what they bribed her with), and Senator Reid got his 60 votes. In the process though, Senator Lincoln will now have somebody pretty formidable who will be working for her defeat.
3rd Update: Senator Harkin to duck constituents on Thanksgiving recess after voting in favor of this bill, unlike Senator Chuck Grassley. Not that Harkin actually lives in Iowa anymore.