Abortion Questions Continue In Health Reform Debate
The Wall Street Journal reports: "Anti-abortion groups are gearing up for a battle in the fall over health-care legislation, another headache for Democrats who already face concerns about the measure's cost and reach. Most versions of the Democratic health plan would create subsidies for lower-income people to buy private health insurance. If that insurance includes coverage for abortion, as many existing private plans do, it effectively means federal taxpayers are subsidizing abortion, critics of the legislation argue. While it gets less attention than some other parts of the plan, abortion has often been raised by critics at town-hall meetings during the August congressional recess."
"Those who favor abortion rights say the bills aren't giving any special treatment to abortions. ... Abortion opponents say they will be satisfied only if a health bill specifically bans all abortion coverage in any federally subsidized plan. They note that Congress has already established similar bans in other federally funded health programs, such as Medicaid, health insurance for federal workers and military plans. ... Some Democrats have been searching for a compromise approach. An amendment approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would allow coverage of abortion, but the money would have to come from the portion of the premiums that are paid by the individuals" (Johnson and Meckler, 8/27).
In another piece, The Wall Street Journal checks in on the fact-checkers: "You know things have gotten confusing when even the independent 'fact checking' organizations can't agree with each other. ... FactCheck.org last week said President Barack Obama was misleading when he claimed that his health care reform wouldn't cover abortion. ... PolitiFact, on the other hand, earlier sided with the White House."
"The most recent blowup came when Mr. Obama declared, during a call with religious supporters, 'You've heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion. Not true.' ... To understand requires us to take a journey into the legislative weeds, but here's my bottom line: Those who claim abortion clearly is covered, and those who say it clearly isn't, are both wrong" (Waldman, 8/27).