Friday, August 21, 2009

Obamacare and abortion

Per Bill Luse's suggestion here, I have posted here a piece on Obamacare and abortion. The short version is, yeah, it looks like it will pay for abortions, but with an accounting fig leaf thrown in to make it look like it doesn't. And the Commissioner (remember him?) gets to decide how much of the premiums is going for abortion coverage. And in an even stranger twist (see the update), poor people who get the "public option" may even be required to pay a bit extra so that the plan can contain full abortion coverage while claiming that federal money isn't paying for it.

Addendum to that post: Michael Gerson puts the point pretty well here:

[T]his is a cover, if not a con. By the nature of health insurance, premiums are not devoted to specific procedures; they support insurance plans. It matters nothing in practice if a premium dollar comes from government or the individual -- both enable the same coverage. If the federal government directly funds an insurance plan that includes elective abortion, it cannot claim it is not paying for elective abortions.

And as NRLC points out here, the government will be collecting and funneling even the "private" premiums to the "private" insurance plans. This fits with my impression of the bill here, according to which it would be the federal government who made the contracts with "health care exchange" insurance plans. So the money is passing through the government's hands anyway, making the distinction between "premiums" and "subsidies" even more artificial.

I've also just updated the W4 post to include some additional information about the "public option" and abortion coverage. Update is at the end of the post.

HT Keith Pavlischek for link to Gerson article


William Luse said...

I've been offline a couple days, and will check out the W4 post. From what I see here, though, this seals it.

Eileen said...

Pretty well said..

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