Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sen. Ben Nelson, Your Uterine Overlord

Ben Nelson, Uterine Overlord
Photo via


Now that Sen. Ben Nelson, Uterine Overlord, and his Democrat colleagues Sen. Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have finally decided on a mutually agreeable horse-trade value of some of your internal organs, I thought it useful if we try to figure out what's just about to hit us in more ways than one.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that a secret huddle by our politicians and a most gentlemanly hand shake don't fill me with a frisson of abject gratitude and don't inspire the utmost confidence that Senate passage of this bill is imperative for the glory of the Vaterland. [Hmm, maybe I shouldn't hold back and use some hyperbole in my writing, right?]

It's just that when our beloved leaders name a bill the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act my default assumption is that the bill will neither protect patients nor offer affordable care. That's a brazen assumption and I better have some facts to support it.

So let's look at the abortion amendment and see if the facts support my assumption. TPM has posted the full text of the abortion amendment and so far I've deciphered subparagraph (A) (translation in bold):

subparagraph (A)

(A) A qualified health plan is not required to provide coverage for abortions for which public funding is prohibited or for which public funding is allowed. Health plans determine whether or not to cover abortions for which public funding is prohibited or allowed. States can void the determination made by health plans by enacting laws to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans in the Exchange.

So states can ban insurance companies from offering any and all coverage for a safe and effective legal procedure. So far, so good for State, God, and country, but not so much for patients. Not that it matters since this isn't about patients or their health.

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If you want to check my translation, here's how I did it:

(A) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this title (or any amendment made by this title)-- (i) nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title), shall be construed to require a qualified health plan to provide coverage of services described in subparagraph (B)(i) [(i) ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS PROHIBITED.--The services described in this clause are abortions for which the expenditure of Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services is not permitted, based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved.] or (B)(ii) [(ii) ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS ALLOWED.--The services described in this clause are abortions for which the expenditure of Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services is permitted, based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved.] as part of its essential health benefits for any plan year; and ''(ii) subject to subsection (a) [(a) STATE OPT-OUT OF ABORTION COVERAGE.-- ''(1) IN GENERAL.--A State may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an Exchange in such State if such State enacts a law to provide for such prohibition. (2) TERMINATION OF OPT OUT.-- A State may repeal a law described in paragraph (1) and provide for the offering of such services through the Exchange.], the issuer of a qualified health plan shall determine whether or not the plan provides coverage of services described in subparagraph (B)(i) or (B)(ii) as part of such benefits for the plan year.


Which leads us to:

(A) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this title (or any amendment made by this title)-- (i) nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title), shall be construed to require a qualified health plan to provide coverage of abortions for which public funding is prohibited ((B)(i)) or abortions for which public funding is allowed ((B)(ii) as part of its essential health benefits for any plan year; and ''(ii) subject to a State's right to enact legislation to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an Exchange ( subsection (a)), the issuer of a qualified health plan shall determine whether or not the plan provides coverage of abortions for which public funding is prohibited (B)(i) or abortions for which public funding is allowed (B)(ii) as part of such benefits for the plan year.



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3 Comments:

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Reaganite Republican said...

If people weren't pissed enough at the power-drunk Dems before, they likely are now...

These tools like Nelson will soon regret the day they did this for Obama, he'll pull all them right-over the abyss with him... and the coming GOP majority will just rescind it anyway-

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger ema said...

I don't think the problem is thirst for power. More likely it's either:

1)Incompetence.

2)They are achieving the desired results (in general, not just this bill), in which case they're very good at their job.

 
At 3:56 AM, Anonymous Bostoniangirl said...

How does this stuff work exactly? The Hyde amendment prevents Federal funds from paying for abortions except under very limited circumstances, but MassHealth (Medicaid plus S-CHIP and a few other things) in MA does cover all family planning services, and abortion is definitely in there. (Well, MassHealth Essential doesn't cover in vitro fertilization.)

I guess that they're using State funds for that, but I'm surprised that nobody's tried to say that since the program takes Federal dollars, it can't spend money on abortions, and yet, they haven't.

 

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