Waffling on Abortion In The Public Option
I saw this as well, and David Axelrod was squirming for dear life when Tweety asked him about covering abortion services in the public plan, in alleged contravention of the Hyde Amendment. They haven't figured out talking points for this yet, including the most obvious one, that the public plan authored in the House is self-sufficient and as such doesn't involve public funds. Instead, Axelrod wants nobody to get "bogged down" by this divisive debate. The President said the same thing today.
Katie Couric: Do you favor a government option that would cover abortions?
President Obama: What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. Because I think we're still trying to get a framework. And my main focus is making sure that people have the options of high quality care at the lowest possible price.
As you know, I'm pro choice. But I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care. Rather than wade into that issue at this point, I think that it's appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings, and not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station.
People just aren't going to buy that, and they shouldn't. The President and his staff need to say what Bill Clinton said in 1993, that any government-run option should offer the same kind of services that private health insurance plans offer, including reproductive choice. And the Hyde Amendment doesn't apply to services funded by individual insurance premiums. Period.
But they instead hem and haw and really accept the biases of people like Chris Matthews, who are looking at the issue from a narrow perspective, who don't have the facts, and who enable crazies like Todd Tiahrt who say things like Barack Obama's mother under the public plan would have aborted the President. You'd think someone basking in the glory of telling off a stupid Birther about "appeasing the whackos" would have attention to that. But abortion is just icky and nobody in the Village wants to talk about it.
Including the President and his staff. But we're going to have to talk about it. Because a public option without the same kind of coverage as private insurance options will not reach a critical mass. It will discriminate against women, and women won't choose it. And we will have flawed competition between those insurance options. That's what's at stake.
And by the way, let me agree with John Cole:
On Hardball right now, Matthews is grilling Axelrod that abortion may be covered under the potential health plans, and said “what about people who think abortion is immoral.”
Well, screw ‘em. The government is constantly doing things that some people think is immoral. Lots of people think it is immoral to wage war. We got two of ‘em going right now. Lots of people think it is immoral put people in jail for nonviolent drug offenses. Got a few of those folks in jail right now, too. And on and on.
'Xactly. The only time morality comes into play for these media types is when conservatives are screaming about it. Killing brown people with bombs from 30,000 feet never really comes into play in such a moral analysis.