Senate Health Bill Answer to Stupak

Shaker GimliGirl forwarded me this Times article about the healthcare proposal unveiled by the Senate Democratic leadership yesterday, which notes: "Mr. Reid's bill would not go as far as the House bill in limiting access to abortion."

Which is exactly as unthrilling as it sounds:
The Senate version would require at least one plan within the health insurance exchange that the bill sets up to offer a plan that covers abortion and one that doesn't. It would also authorize the Health and Human Services Secretary to audit plans to make certain that abortion isn't being paid for with federal dollars.

...Sen. Barbara Boxer is also pleased with the language of the Senate's abortion compromise: "Senator Reid did an excellent job of crafting language that maintains the decades long compromise of no federal funds for abortion, while allowing a woman to use her own private funds for her reproductive health care. In this Senate bill, there is a complete separation of public and private funding when it comes to purchasing insurance that includes legal reproductive health care procedures."
Of course, Azzy's earlier post outlines why "allowing a woman to use her own private funds" for an abortion is a pretty pathetic solution in a healthcare bill ostensibly designed to serve people who don't have the funds to pay for their healthcare out of pocket. Again I will note that this fuckery only flies in a culture that treats women's healthcare and abortion as mutually exclusive concepts.

When Boxer's petition against the Stupak Amendment noted it "discriminates against women by taking away health coverage they already have—and tells women who participate in the new health insurance exchange that they can't even use their own funds to buy a policy that includes abortion coverage," I didn't imagine "let them use their own funds!" was going to be regarded as the best solution.

Silly me.

Meanwhile, D-Day notes that this compromise depends heavily on decisions made by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as s/he "determines whether or not abortion services are being paid for with federal dollars" and "can choose whether or not abortion services are covered in the public option."

Not only are those wildly enormous decisions to leave in the hands of one person, but, as D-Day points out, "the executive branch may indeed be controlled by a Republican at some point in the future."

And I trust we haven't forgotten what happened over at the HHS last time a Republican was in office.

Save your delicate spines, Dems. I'll throw myself under the bus.

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