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Abortion and health reform – state of play | Hunter of Justice

Abortion and health reform – state of play

by on October 4, 2009  •  In Congress, Health, Reproductive rights

The following is a chart by Jessica Arons at the Center for American Progress, published at RH reality check, which updates my earlier post describing the Capps Amendment by adding a comparison to the Senate Finance Committee bill: 

Current law Capps Amendment to House health care reform bill Senate health care reform bill
The Hyde Amendment
The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal Medicaid and Medicare money from being spent on most types of abortion, including pregnancies that threaten the woman’s health or involve fetal anomalies. Federal money can only be used to pay for an abortion when the pregnancy threatens the life of the woman or results from rape or incest. The Hyde Amendment restrictions would apply to all insurance plans that participate in the health insurance exchange, whether those plans are operated by private insurers or by the government’s “public option.” In other words, no federal funding, including affordability credits or other subsidies, would be used to pay for abortions beyond what is currently allowed. Private premiums would be segregated from public funds and only the private premiums could pay for abortion services beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment restrictions would apply to all insurance plans that participate in the health insurance exchange, whether those plans are operated by private insurers or member-run co-ops. In other words, no federal funding, including affordability credits or other subsidies, would be used to pay for abortions beyond what is currently allowed. Private premiums would be segregated from public funds and only private premiums could pay for abortion services beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment.
Other government programs
Laws similar to the Hyde Amendment that restrict coverage of abortion services also apply to military employees and their dependents, federal employee health plans, members of the Peace Corps, women in federal prisons and detention centers, and Native Americans who receive health care through the Indian Health Services. Current restrictions on federal spending for abortion services would not change. Current restrictions on federal spending for abortion services would not change.
States
States have the option to use their own money to pay for abortion services beyond what is permitted under the Hyde Amendment, and 17 states currently do so. Federal money subsidizes these state Medicaid programs even though they cover abortion. Federal money would subsidize plans that cover abortion—just like they currently do for state Medicaid plans and employer plans—but no public money would be used to pay for abortion services not allowed by the Hyde Amendment. Government money would only be used to help pay for the other medical services covered by those plans. Federal money would subsidize plans that cover abortion—just like they currently do for state Medicaid plans and employer plans—but no public money would be used to pay for abortion services not allowed by the Hyde Amendment. Government money would only be used to help pay for the other medical services covered by those plans.
Private insurance
Private insurance companies are allowed to decide whether to cover abortion services, and 87 percent of typical employment plans currently provide such 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 beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment, provided that at least one plan in each market area offers such services and one plan does not. This provision goes well beyond current law to guarantee that consumers have the option to purchase a plan that suits their medical needs and their values. No abortion services—even those allowed by the Hyde Amendment for cases that threaten the woman’s life or result from rape or incest—can be mandated as part of a minimum benefits package. Each plan in the exchange could decide whether to cover abortion services beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment, provided that at least one plan in each market area offers such services and one plan does not. This provision goes well beyond current law to guarantee that consumers have the option to purchase a plan that suits their medical needs and their values. No abortion services—even those allowed by the Hyde Amendment for cases that threaten the woman’s life or result from rape or incest—can be mandated as part of a minimum benefits package.

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One Response to Abortion and health reform – state of play

  1. Douglas Johnson October 5, 2009 at 8:30 AM

    There are some very substantial defects in the Jessica Arons chart and the discursive material that she published with it, which I have critiqued in a comment on RHRealityCheck, here: link to rhrealitycheck.org

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