November 7, 2009
House Passes Health Care Bill, Bars Funding for Abortion
The House just voted 220-215 to approve health care legislation that would create a public health insurance option and require employers to offer health insurance.
Before the final vote, the House also voted 240-194 to bar federal funding of abortion in the proposed government-run health care plan.
Sixty-four Democrats voted in favor of the amendment led by Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), while Republican Rep. John Shadegg voted present in an effort to derail the bill. Here's the full description of the Stupak amendment.
The amendment prohibits federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions.
Here's analysis from the Associated Press:
Under the Stupak amendment, people who do not receive federal insurance subsidies could buy private insurance plans in the exchange that include abortion coverage. People who receive federal subsidies could buy separate policies covering only abortions if they use only their own money to do it.
Companies selling insurance policies covering abortions would be required to offer identical policies without the abortion coverage.
...A health overhaul bill pending in the Senate also bars federal funding for abortion, but the language is less stringent. Discrepancies between the House and Senate measures would have to be reconciled before any final bill is passed.
CT reported earlier on how abortion and health care had split Democrats, and The New York Times reported that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to deal with another fight before the final vote.
With just hours to go before the start on Saturday morning of historic floor debate over the health care bill, leading Democratic members of the Pro-Choice Caucus emerged from Ms. Pelosi’s office unable to contain their fury. Ms. Pelosi, unwilling to delay a vote on the larger bill, had decided that Democrats who oppose abortion simply had too many votes on their side; for the moment, at least, the liberals who favor abortion rights had lost.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released a statement praising the Stupak amendment but said that the health care legislation is "seriously flawed."
"The Speaker's bill still allows rationing of health care for seniors, raises health costs for families, mandates that families purchase under threat of fines and penalties, encourages counseling for assisted suicide in some states, does not offer broad conscience protections for health care workers and seeks to insert the federal government into all aspects of citizen's lives."