Democrats have argued that health care reform would preserve the status quo. In July, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced an amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee “that attempted to strike a balance and preserve the status quo on abortion funding”; Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has unveiled a bill that closely mirrors Capps’ amendment.
But as Arons points out, reform changes current law by mandating that at least one plan in each market area not offer any abortion services and jeopardizes the abortion coverage of women who transition form employer insurance to plans within the exchange:
|Current Law||House Bill (Capps amendment) & Baucus Bill|
|Hyde Amendment||Federal dollars can only be used to pay for abortions when the pregnancy threatens life of mother or results from rape or incest.||Nothing changes. Federal dollars can only be used to pay for abortions when the pregnancy threatens life of mother or results from rape or incest. Only private premiums could be used to pay for abortions beyond the Hyde amendment|
|Medicaid & Abortion||States have the option to use their own money to pay for abortion services beyond what is permitted under Hyde, and 17 states currently do so. The federal money states receive to finance Medicaid cannot be used for these services.||Nothing changes. No public money would be used to pay for abortion services not allowed by the Hyde Amendment.|
|Private Insurance||87 percent of employment plans currently provide abortion coverage. The federal government subsidizes these plans through an employer tax credit, even if the plans include abortion.||Each plan in the exchange could decide whether to cover abortion services. At least one plan in each market area must offer abortion services and one plan must not. No abortion services—even those allowed by the Hyde Amendment —can be mandated as part of a minimum benefits package.|
Read Arons’ full memo here.