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Does The Abortion Compromise Preserve The Status Quo?

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"Does The Abortion Compromise Preserve The Status Quo?"

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Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)

As Republicans prepare to introduce a series of amendments rationing abortion services out of health care reform, Jessica Arons — Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress Action Fund — has compiled this very useful comparison of how the proposed reform bills would change current abortion restrictions. (I’ve summarized her report in the table below).

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.

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