Thursday, November 19, 2009

In the Long Term

The Stupak/Pitts amendment to the House version of healthcare reform was supposedly inserted to prevent public funds from paying for elective abortions; a backstop for the Hyde amendment that’s been on the books since 1976. But a study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services says that it goes a lot further than that.

The report concludes that “the treatment exclusions required under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange.”

In other words, though the immediate impact of the Stupak amendment will be limited to the millions of women initially insured through a new insurance exchange, over time, as the exchanges grow, the insurance industry will scale down their abortion coverage options until they offer none at all.

Far be it from anyone to suspect that that was the intention of Rep. Stupak (D-MI) all along; let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that he had no idea whatsoever of the unintended consequences of his amendment or that he misled his colleagues who supported the amendment that it was only there to make sure the Hyde amendment was enforced. I’m sure.

It may be a moot point; early reports indicate that the Senate version of the bill changes the language of the Stupak/Pitts amendment to the point that the National Right to Life Committee is not happy.