The National Catholic Review

In a comment on my blog post from this morning, reader Michael Liddy points out that the Stupak Amendment does not, in fact, prohibit insurance companies from offering plans in the exchanges that cover abortion. It only requires that the companies offer an identical plan that does not cover abortion as well. Thanks for the comment Mr. Liddy and let me clarify the Stupak language.

You are right that the Amendment does not legally ban the offering of privately purchased plans that cover abortion in the exchanges. But, this is a distinction without a difference because the actuaries for the insurance companies, who are party to the negotiations for a reason, estimate that only 20% of those entering the exchanges will not be eligible for a subsidy. Of that 20% only a certain percentage will be women of child-bearing age, and so the pool of those participating in the plans would be too small to subdivide even further into those who want abortion coverage and those who don’t. So, Mr. Liddy you are correct that the Stupak language does not technically forbid it, but the reality of the insurance market does.

All summer I got into shouting matches with some of my pro-choice friends who insisted that the Capps Amendment took care of the issue of public funding. All summer, I said that it didn’t, that it was too-cute-by-half. It would be wrong of us on the pro-life side to try and be too cute about the consequence of the Stupak language in the real world. I am still worried that the backlash may be strong enough to carry us backwards in ways we do not want to go. There are plenty of members who would like to overturn the Hyde Amendment. Prudence is a virtue.

 

 

Comments

Think Catholic | 11/12/2009 - 8:13am
Ed, thank you for your opinion.  I am glad you are counseling Pelosi and others to keep Stupak.  That's what I am doing too.  But MSW is doing the opposite, he is counseling that Stupak be watered down, that we accept some government funding of plans that cover abortion, and he and Obama are using the same line that NARAL is using against Stupak.  So perhaps you are not making the distinctions necessary to achieve your own stated goals.
Anonymous | 11/11/2009 - 9:27pm
Matt;
MSW is pro- life .. I am pro life.. you are pro-life.. but you sound too anti-Obama, anti-congress to help in this battle.. this battle is to rally pro-life Dems to hold Stupak fast.. my congresswoman is Nancy Pelosi and I write her daily on this issue..Not to change her from pro-choice but asking not to sink health care in reconciliation committee by inserting abortion funding access. If you are in Pa get Casey on board..
Think Catholic | 11/11/2009 - 8:19pm
And MSW you think that by insisting on Stupak we lose Hyde?  Who are you trying to scare?  Stupak just won with 240 votes in the House.  We lose Hyde by compromising on Stupak, not by insisting on it.  We lose Hyde by following your counsel that since your health reform is so massive we have to accept some government funding of abortion plans.  Once we cross that line, there's no reason we will be able to give against ceding more and more away until nothing is left.  And you keep telling us how pro-life Obama is, and how we supports Hyde and Stupak, and how his pro-life critics are all wearing tin foil hats.  Now you're telling us he will revoke Hyde?  Are you joining the tin foil club?  The threat against Hyde has never been lower than it si since Stupak won with 240 votes.  But now you're calling for compromise with this scare tactic.  To the extent that the President and Congress do represent a threat to Hyde, whose fault is that?  Look in the mirror, and at the other Catholics who supported them and who when it suits their agenda continue to tell us that the visitors are our friends.  For you to now wag your finger about Obama being a threat to Hyde is condescending to say the least.  Stop propping up the obstacles you are throwing in pro-lifers' faces.
Think Catholic | 11/11/2009 - 7:52pm
It is not only a distinction WITH a difference, the difference is real and the difference makes NARAL's claims false (it makes your claims false too when you and the President adopt their rhetoric).  It isn't pro-lifers' fault that the government will be involved so intricately in so many people's health insurance plans, that the fraction of women in the exchange without government subsidies is so small.  That is the fault of the people who support these kinds of reform.  The pro-life principle IS Hyde:  no government subsidies to plans covering abortion.  If your party's plan is so massive that almost everyone in the exchange gets a subsidy, that's your fault.  It CANNOT be a reason for abandoning the Hyde principle because it affects too many people.  That flawed argument is the same one used in favor of Capps and in favor of abortion in the public option-the other side says they HAVE to cover abortion because it affects so many people.  None of that changes the principle of no government subsidies to plans that cover abortion.  MSW your prescription is that because your party's plan is so massive, pro-lifers should accept some government subsidization of plans that cover abortion.  You bring the camel's nose into the tent.  Stop waffling and support Rep. Stupak.
Anonymous | 11/11/2009 - 6:11pm
Whatever but it's down to a simple either/ or.. .. 70$ of Americans oppose funding and subsidies for abortion..We Stay with Stupak...if the pro-abortion lobby is willing to stop reform over abortion if it does not increase abortion access... pro-life should be willing to do what it takes to protect Stupak and increase LIFE. .no compromise.. call the pro-abortion bluff..