March 18, 2010
Democrats Battle for Health Care Votes
Democrats secured more votes yesterday and could vote on health care reform as early as Sunday, The New York Times reports.
Rep. James E. Clyburn said the legislation would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion in the next decade from reductions in the growth of Medicare spending, new fees and tax increases.
Three self-described pro-life Congressmen who voted for the Stupak amendment, Tom Perriello (D-Virginia), Dale Kildee (D-Michigan) and Jim Oberstar (D-Michigan), have declared their support for the Senate's health care legislation.
In the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus argues that the fight over abortion is minor.
If anything, both versions would end up restricting abortion coverage more than under current law. Some women whose insurance covers abortion would lose that benefit as their policies move to the new insurance exchanges.
If anything, health-care reform would reduce the number of abortions. More women would have coverage that includes contraception. Pregnant women would know that their medical care, and that of their child, would be covered.
Michael Gerson argues that proponents of health care have muddled important moral debates to get the legislation passed.
The Senate bill would allow federal subsidies to go to health plans that cover elective abortions -- under two conditions. First, the coverage would be paid for by a separate premium check required of all enrollees. Second, there would have to be at least one alternative in any regional health exchange that doesn’t offer abortion coverage.
...If the health-care reform abortion debate is really a trivial mix-up, then what are the motivations of, say, the Catholic bishops? They have been one of the most consistent supporters of universal health care in America. They view it as a matter of social justice. It is difficult to accuse them of wanting to show their political “muscle” by defeating health care or Obama. Actually, it would be libelous.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich also announced yesterday he would change his no vote on the House measure to yes on the Senate bill.