I don’t want to give the idea any ideas, but it’s a sign of the weirdness of Bart Stupak’s drive against the health care bill that he never seems to have anything to say about the gigantic federal subsidies to abortion that are implicit in current law. What subsidies? Well, the federal government doesn’t count employer-provided health insurance as income. That’s a subsidy to every who gets health insurance from their employer. And there’s no restriction whatsoever on employer-provided health insurance plans to offer abortion coverage. Indeed, abortion coverage is so widespread in these subsidized plans that even the Republican National Committee’s plan covered abortions until the press coverage became embarrassing.
Currently, the individual market is totally unsubsidized. The health care bill will regulate the individual market and provide subsidies in the form of tax credits to allow for the purchase of insurance policies. And the Nelson language currently in the bill does much more to restrict the ability of those credits to be used to buy abortion coverage than anything in current law does. Which is just to say that unless you want to put a ton of weight on the difference between subsidizing something through a tax credit and subsidizing something through a tax exclusion, the health care bill will over time significantly curtail federal subsidies for abortion while significantly increasing federal subsidies for maternal and neo-natal health.
Abortion opponents are of course free to find that inadequate. And since they getting an abortion should be a criminal offense obviously anything is going to be inadequate in some sense. But this bill, as written, is a small step in their direction as Nuns and the Catholic Health Association can both see.