Â Â Â Â Two big developments today: a proposal on Medicare for All and another abortion amendment.Â
Â Â Â Â Carrie Budoff Brown of The Politico, always on top of new developments concerning the public option, postedÂ this articleÂ in whichÂ she states that liberals are now willing to drop the public option contained in current bills in return for a change to Medicare that would allow persons 55 and older to purchase Medicare health insurance.Â This would in fact be the simplest form of public option.Â In previous years this had been proposed by Senator Ted Kennedy and others under legislation called "Medicare for All."Â Sam Stein and Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post provide additional information about the Medicare buy-in proposal in this report, as does Brian Beutler in this post from TPM.
Â Â Â Â Jeffrey Young of The Hill offers this report on Senator Ben Nelson's (D-NE) proffered amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions.Â Â The American Roman Catholic bishops support Nelson's amendment (see this news release from the U.S.C.C.B.), just as they supported the Stupak Amendment that was adopted by the House of Representatives.Â However, Young quotes Republican supporters of the amendment as "expressing doubts" that Nelson's amendment will secure the 60 votes necessary for inclusion in the Senate bill.
Â Â Â Â Senator Nelson posted this press release about the amendment, which contains the language of the amendment itself.Â Like the Stupak amendment, it provides that federal funds may be used to pay for abortions onlyÂ in cases of rape, incest, or where the woman's life is in danger from pregnancy or childbirth.Â
Â Â Â Â Although I strongly support a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, I do not believe that government funds should be used to pay for elective abortions.Â People who are morally opposed to abortion should not be forced to pay for them.Â However, the proposed legislation goes too far in two respects.Â First, there are non-life threatening situations where a woman's health is threatened byÂ continuing a pregnancyÂ - and in my opinion, government programs should cover the cost of any medically-indicated abortion.Â What is an indigentÂ woman whose health is threatened by a pregnancy supposed to do?Â Carry the pregnancy and endanger her health in order to satisfy the moral and religious concerns of other people?Â Second, Senator Nelson's amendment retains the language of the Stupak amendment that requires women to purchase abortion coverage through the exchange by means of separate health insurance ridersÂ even when it would have been cheaper for the insurance company to have offered abortion coverage in the original policy.Â That is not simply prohibiting the government from paying for an abortion – that is making it more expensive and more difficult for women to secure abortions than it would have been without the legislation, and that aspect of the amendment is unconstitutional.
Visit Professor Huhn's website on health care financing reform for links to information about proposed legislation, studies and reports, public agencies, and private organizations concerned with this issue.Â