As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama Administration Aiding The War On Choice?

At the teabagger protest in Washington, one group printed signs that said "Bury Obamacare With Kennedy." Amazingly, this came from the American Life League, a group of anti-abortion activists. They apparently promoted that culture of life Saturday.

But substantively speaking, the American Life League didn't need to be in that protest. Because they've already won in the battle to restrict access for reproductive choice throughout America, even in a new health care reform bill that seeks to expand access for medical care overall.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told me on ‘This Week’ the President will go beyond language in a House bill to make sure no public money goes to pay for abortions under health care reform.

Abortion foes argue language in the House bill has too many holes and that taxpayers could potentially subsidize abortions. Sebelius told me there will be no uncertainty with the President's plan.

“In fact recently the Catholic bishops came out, after the President’s statement saying that his statement about what he intends in the plan that no public fund would go to fund abortion and the fact that he has come out firmly for insuring all Americans and saying that it’s a moral issue as well as an economic issue and they endorsed moving forward. I think the legislative language will reflect what the President has just said.”

GEORGE: “So you are saying that he will go beyond what we have seen in the House and explicitly rule out any public funding for abortion?”

SEBELIUS: “Well that’s exactly what the President said and that’s what he intends that the bill he signs will do.”

The only way to go beyond the House bill is to restrict private insurers to offer reproductive services in any plans they offer in the insurance exchange. Which means that nobody in the individual market will have those legal medical services covered. Meaning that health care "reform" would actually make it harder for millions of people to access reproductive choice services.

That's ridiculous. And women should not stand for it. The same with immigrants' rights advocates, or end-of-life care advocates, or any of the various groups who Obama's Administration is leaving along the wayside on the road to reform. Obama is right to take responsibility for the ultimate outcome of a bill. The problem is he's making compromises now that will only anger core supporters and make things demonstrably worse for entire classes of society.

"I think there're some who see this as a replay of 1993-94. You know, young president comes in, proposes healthcare. It crashes and burns and then the Republicans use that to win back the House in the subsequent election," he said, "And I think there are some people who are dusting off that play book."

Mr. Obama said he would take responsibility for any health-care legislation passed. "You know, I intend to be president for a while and once this bill passes, I own it," he said. "And if people look and say, 'You know what? This hasn't reduced my costs. My premiums are still going up 25%, insurance companies are still jerkin' me around,' I'm the one who's going to be held responsible."

But there are more possibilities than just increased costs and insurance company-created pain. There's a real cost to women, as outlined here. There's a cost to the country in letting immigrants go untreated and infecting the rest of the population. Will Obama bear responsibility for those costs?

Labels: , , ,