Saturday, December 11, 2010

Health care abortion sideshow

Men who want control over a woman's body.

Mr. Pitts was chosen last week as the chairman of the subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over private health insurance, Medicaid and much of Medicare, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.

In urging Republican leaders to choose Mr. Pitts, the National Right to Life Committee said he had “made the protection of the sanctity of innocent human life the cornerstone of his service in the House.”

Representative Lois Capps, a California Democrat and an advocate of abortion rights, described Mr. Pitts as “one of the most anti-choice members” of the House. Given the midterm election results, Ms. Capps predicted that the new Congress would be “extremely hostile to a woman’s right to choose.”

Laurie Rubiner, vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said Mr. Pitts was “as anti-choice as a member of Congress can be.”

House Republicans will have difficulty enacting their agenda, since Mr. Obama and a substantial number of senators support abortion rights. But the Republicans may ultimately be able to tighten restrictions in some areas.

Like most Republicans in Congress, Mr. Pitts said he wanted to repeal the health care law, which was passed by Congress on party-line votes without Republican support.

Short of that goal, Mr. Pitts said he was determined to ban federal subsidy payments to any health insurance plans that include coverage of abortion — a benefit now offered by many private health plans.

Under the new law, the federal government is expected to spend more than $450 billion in subsidies to help low- and middle-income people buy insurance from 2014 to 2019.

Pitts was the Republican sponsor of the Stupak admendment, and the way abortion coverage is handled in the health care bill is already intended to be ridiculous and, I fear, humiliating.

Under the new law, health insurance plans are generally allowed to cover abortion. If they cover the procedure, they cannot use federal money to pay for it. People who enroll in such plans have to write two premium checks, one for abortion coverage and one for everything else, and insurers must keep the money in separate accounts.

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