Healthcare Reform Package Passes House After Compromise on ChoicePosted: March 22, 2010
Last night, the Democrats were finally able to push through their health insurance reform package when the House passed the Senate bill. It was passed with the slimmest margin, 219-212, with three Democrats switching their previous stances to “nay” votes. Overall, 34 Democrats joined in the unanimous Republicans opposition. Click here to see how all Representatives voted.
This came after a long weekend of contention, protests, and negotiations between anti-choice Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak, who virtually caved under the pressure by striking a deal with President Obama. Obama will now be signing an executive order guaranteeing “an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services” and continue the existing prohibition of federal funds for abortion care similar to the Hyde Amendment for Medicaid.
The President promised status quo for abortion care, but this bill is anything but status quo. In a last minute backroom deal to pass the bill in the Senate, Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer (CA) and Harry Reid (NV) helped create a compromise to appease anti-choice Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). The compromise, which is in the bill waiting for the President’s signature, would require women and families who buy coverage with abortion care within the exchange, regardless of if they receive government subsidies, to write two checks for their insurance coverage. One of the checks will be for the abortion coverage. The plan before the compromise already called for a prohibition of federal abortion spending. All the abortion compromises and the subsequent executive order were just political pandering to a few anti-choice members of Congress so they would support the bill. What Democrats proved is they were willing to compromise reproductive health care for millions of woman in order to pass a badly flawed bill. They succeeded.
This will not be the last time we hear about and fight for coverage of abortion care. This will be another political football ran up and down the field depending on who is in power and who they are trying to appease. Just another prime example on why the government should not decide on care and what is covered.
The Senate is now working this week on the package of “fixes” the House already passed. The fixes do not include any changes to abortion coverage, but supposed measures to lower the deficit. We will continue to update you as the fixes are passed, the bill is signed and we see changes in the law.