>Two of my favorite organizations, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Planned Parenthood are holding a National Day of Action today to lobby the Senate for health care reform that ensures women’s access to reproductive health care. Right now, things are not looking good.
Basically, the House passed a horrible amendment sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak, an anti-choice douche bag. The amendment would prevent women who currently have health insurance plans that cover abortion from obtaining the same coverage if they buy it through an insurance exchange. This is a problem for me, but even worse is that private plans will likely drop abortion coverage in order to participate in the exchange. People who like imposing their religious beliefs on others are proposing the same thing in the Senate.
Planned Parenthood explains the situation (it's a long one):
The Bottom Line
- Under the Stupak amendment, millions of women would lose benefits that they currently have and millions more would be prohibited from getting the kind of private sector health care coverage that most women have today.
- Millions of women would lose private coverage for abortion services and millions more would be prohibited from buying it even with their own money.
The New Health Insurance Exchange
- The new health insurance exchange is intended to provide a new source of affordable, quality coverage for the roughly 46 million uninsured Americans and the millions more whose current coverage is unaffordable or inadequate.
- The House bill is expected to cover 96 percent of all uninsured Americans by offering subsidies for private coverage or the choice of a public plan. Depending on their income level and the final package approved by Congress, individuals would receive subsidies on a sliding scale to purchase private insurance through the exchange.
- Not everyone in the exchange would have subsidized coverage — a significant portion of people (for instance, those currently purchasing in the individual market and those working for small businesses) who would buy insurance in the exchange would not receive any subsidies, also known as affordability credits.
The Stupak Amendment
- The Stupak amendment prohibits any coverage of abortion in the public option and prohibits anyone receiving a federal subsidy from purchasing a health insurance plan that includes abortion. It also prohibits private health insurance plans from offering through the exchange a plan that includes abortion coverage to both subsidized and unsubsidized individuals.
- The Stupak amendment purports to allow women to purchase a separate, single-service “abortion rider,” but abortion riders don’t exist.
- Women are unlikely to think ahead to choose a plan that includes abortion coverage, since they do not plan for unplanned pregnancy.
- Realistically, the actual effect of the Stupak amendment is to ban abortion coverage across the entire exchange, for women with both subsidized and unsubsidized coverage.
- Example: Currently, a self-employed graphic designer or writer, buying coverage from Kaiser Permanente in the individual market, likely has abortion coverage. Under the health reform plan amended by Stupak, she would purchase that same plan from Kaiser Permanente in the exchange, but it would not include abortion coverage because it would be barred. This ban would be in effect even if she were paying the full premium. Similarly, a woman working for a small graphic design firm, who currently has abortion coverage through her company’s plan, would lose it under reform if the company decides to seek more affordable coverage in the exchange.
For more information on health care reform and the Stupak amendment, visit us at http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/healthreform.
End of Planned Parenthood info, and back to my ranting... If this pisses you off as much as it does me, call your Senator today. (Or email him or her, as I suspect the lines will be busy.) Perhaps yelling, "Stop the stupid Stupak amendment bullshit," is not the thing to say, but it does have alliteration, which is a good literary technique.
In all seriousness, something like this is NOT going to stop women from having abortions. Instead, it will force more women to wait longer for their procedure while they figure out how the hell to pay for it. If we want more late term abortions in this country, then by all means, support Stupak. But that would be stupid.