Monday, November 09, 2009

So nice that Joseph Cao voted for "life" and against his party lines.

Even more lovely is the list of 65 Democrats who decided to add the amendment Cao supported with that yea vote...and they have all redrawn the lines of health care reform over women's reproductive rights:

The Stupak Amendment goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied federal funding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak Amendment, if incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform legislation, will:

  • Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
  • Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
  • Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.
Let's hear it for - after all these years and bogus "year of the Woman" declarations - a still male-dominated Congress willing to kick potentially over half the national population to the curb. Cao doesn't deserve to be flamed by members of his own party like he has been for not toeing the GOP line, but he and the Democrats who voted for "life" - like Louisiana's own Charlie Melancon, who, after voting yea on Stupak, voted nay on HCR altogether - are symptomatic of a couple of things: women still have to carefully watch the decisions that are being made inside the Beltway, and party designations don't necessarily mean what they used to mean anymore...so keep following the money. Insurance companies and the right-wing are still behind the wheel on all of this.

Yes, reform needed to happen, and it isn't perfect, but damn.

Update, 12:43 PM: Coozan Pat asks in the comments:
Am I missing something on the Stupak amendment? Is there a whole lot of Federal medical subsidy money currently available to women of any socio-economic bracket to use in cases of elective pregnancy termination?

Because if there is, and the Stupak amendment represents any type of change from the current status quo, that would be news to me.
To clarify, from me:
Yeah, you're right. Traditionally, it HAS been a case of "Oh, you have the RIGHT to an abortion, but only if YOU are the one paying for it."

(note: according to this link, "Private insurers will have to drop abortion coverage from plans that have it (which is most of them) in order to participate in the exchanges. The Public Option will not provide abortion coverage. People will get access to affordable health care, but they'll have to pay out of pocket for an abortion. If people want to move to a plan on the exchange, they'll lose the coverage that they currently have.")

I just get miffed at this kind of thing happening over and over again just to get Congressional reps and senators off the fences on these issues: the stimulus package's scales were tipped to get more liberals voting for it when mental health parity was added, and now these further limits on abortion funding are added to get folks of a conservative bent to help kick HCR into gear.

And, historically speaking, the response of the women's organizations to Roe vs Wade is looking more like a resting on one little scrap of lucid judgment concerning women's rights rather than taking advantage of a spark for real change and running with it. We're going on near 40 years of this crap and I'm getting tired of it, is all.
Anudder update, 6:33 PM: Dangerblond says: Patrick, read this....and you should, too.
1. It effectively bans coverage for most abortions from all public and private health plans in the Exchange: In addition to prohibiting direct government funding for abortion, it also prohibits public money from being spent on any plan that covers abortion even if paid for entirely with private premiums. Therefore, no plan that covers abortion services can operate in the Exchange unless its subscribers can afford to pay 100% of their premiums with no assistance from government "affordability credits." As the vast majority of Americans in the Exchange will need to use some of these credits, it is highly unlikely any plan will want to offer abortion coverage (unless they decide to use it as a convenient proxy to discriminate against low- and moderate-income Americans who tend to have more health care needs and incur higher costs).

2. It includes only extremely narrow exceptions: Plans in the Exchange can only cover abortions in the case of rape or incest or "where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death." Given insurance companies’ dexterity in denying claims, we can predict what they’ll do with that language. Cases that are excluded: where the health but not the life of the woman is threatened by the pregnancy, severe fetal abnormalities, mental illness or anguish that will lead to suicide or self-harm, and the numerous other reasons women need to have an abortion.

3. It allows for a useless abortion "rider": Stupak and his allies claim his Amendment doesn’t ban abortion from the Exchange because it allows plans to offer and women to purchase extra, stand-alone insurance known as a rider to cover abortion services. Hopefully the irony of this is immediately apparent: Stupak wants women to plan for a completely unexpected event.

4. It allows for discrimination against abortion providers: Previously, the health care bill included an evenhanded provision that prohibited discrimination against any health care provider or facility "because of its willingness or unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions." Now, it only protects those who are unwilling to provide such services.

Women are simply vessels for babies when it comes to their health care is all this amounts to.

I wouldn't be surprised at this point if the reintroduction of mandatory drafting into the armed forces came up as bills in Congress. Take our children, while you're at it, representatives and senators. You might as well.

One mo' time, 11-10: Coozan has more. And, once again, he is right.

Oh, somebody STOP me, 11-12: Found through the Tweeter Tube, Digby's response to Stupak:
I have a moral objection to paying for any kind of erectile dysfunction medicine in the new health reform bill and I think men who want to use it should just pay for it out of pocket. After all, I won't ever need such a pill. And anyway, it's no biggie. Just because most of them can get it under their insurance today doesn't mean they shouldn't have it stripped from their coverage in the future because of my moral objections. (I don't think there's even been a Supreme Court ruling making wood a constitutional right. I might be wrong about that.)

Many of the men who are prescribed this medication are on Medicare, so I think it should be stripped out of that coverage as well. And unlike the payments for abortion, which actually lower overall medical costs (pregnancy obviously costs much, much more) banning tax dollars from covering any kind of Viagra would result in a substantial savings...

...I realize that many people disagree with my moral objections to men getting erections which God clearly doesn't want them to get, but my principles on this are more important to me than theirs are to them. So too bad. If you want a boner, pay for it yourself.
Incidentally, one of my favorite prescription conflicts ever was one described to me by my husband. He told me of an elderly friend of his, now deceased, who had a prescription for Viagra, but who couldn't actually ever ingest it because it would mess with the effects of another medication he was taking. Nice. Very nice.

3 comments:

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Posted this question at YRHT, will post it here.

Am I missing something on the Stupak amendment? Is there a whole lot of Federal medical subsidy money currently available to women of any socio-economic bracket to use in cases of elective pregnancy termination?

Because if there is, and the Stupak amendment represents any type of change from the current status quo, that would be news to me.

Leigh C. said...

From http://www.answers.com/topic/abortion :

"Abortion and Public Funding

"The Supreme Court has consistently upheld laws denying governmental support for abortion. The first 'Hyde amendment,' a federal limitation on the use of Medicaid funds, was enacted in 1976. It and similar state laws, all of which make exceptions for abortions to save the mother's life, continue to survive judicial scrutiny. Justice Potter Stewart's majority opinion in Harris v. McRae (1981) is typical. 'Although government may not place obstacles in the path of a woman's exercise of her freedom of choice, it need not remove those not of its own creation. Indigency falls in the latter category' (p. 316). Justices William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, and Blackmun maintained that these laws make safe abortions unavailable for poor women, thus creating a double standard of constitutional rights. But Stewart's view prevailed. A constitutional challenge to these laws is even less likely to succeed now that Chief Justice Rehnquist, a dissenter in Roe, is the only holdover from that case still on the Court and several supporters of Roe have been replaced by opponents. Rust v. Sullivan (1991) further limited poor women's access to abortion by upholding the federal 'gag rule' forbidding clinics receiving federal funds from even advising clients that abortion is available. This 'gag rule' was revoked in Bill Clinton's first week as president and reinstated when George W. Bush took office."

Yeah, you're right. Traditionally, it HAS been a case of "Oh, you have the RIGHT to an abortion, but only if YOU are the one paying for it."

I just get miffed at this kind of thing happening over and over again just to get Congressional reps and senators off the fences on these issues: the stimulus package's scales were tipped to get more liberals voting for it when mental health parity was added, and now these further limits on abortion funding are added to get folks of a conservative bent to help kick HCR into gear.

And, historically speaking, the response of the women's organizations to Roe vs Wade is looking more like a resting on one little scrap of lucid judgment concerning women's rights rather than taking advantage of a spark for real change and running with it. We're going on near 40 years of this crap and I'm getting tired of it, is all.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

From Kos: Millions of women will not have access to a legal medical procedure. Remember that, the legal part?

As already demonstrated, these women did not have "access" to this legal medical procedure under the current system, where "access" is defined as "someone else's tax dollars paying for it."

They have to pay out of pocket for elective pregnancy termination now, they have to pay out of pocket for elective pregnancy termination under the new plan.

Federal subsidy for elective pregnancy termination was never part of this bill. Federal subsidy for elective pregnancy termination does not have the legislative support to become policy.

Pelosi & co. are unhappy because the Stupak amendment calls them on this fact that they tried to gloss over.

One: That's a lot of megabytes on screen to talk about something that is not a change.

Two: This issue will scuttle any health care reform before the mid-term elections.

Three: This is exactly what everyone in Washington wants because it allows everyone to play to their base, raise campaign money and gives them someone else to blame for not getting reform done.

Winners: GOP & Insurance Companies, who now get to sit back and watch the reform party rip itself to shreds.