Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm going to regret this

But I want to take a few minutes to respond to Ross Douthat's post about Bart Stupak and pro-life Democrats.

And yes, the health care bill, as passed, effectively tilts public policy in a more pro-choice direction: The fact that women are required to write a separate check for abortion coverage means that public money isn’t literally paying for abortion, but it doesn’t change the fact that federal dollars are being spent in ways that make it much easier to obtain abortion-covering insurance.
Yet who, in the political arena, really seemed to be on his side? Not the pro-choice left, obviously, which was willing to sacrifice the entire health care bill to the principle that nobody should have to pay for an abortion out of pocket.

Let's be clear. The Hyde Amendment will still be in effect. So no public dollars will be spent on abortions. Put aside my "radical" view that the Hyde Amendment is an infringement on a woman's right to a legitimate medical procedure, and let's look at what exactly Douthat is complaining about. Under the rules in the Affordable Care for America Act (no longer a bill!), in order for a woman to get insurance that covers abortion while also getting subsidies to help pay for coverage, she must buy a separate add-on to her insurance, paid for separately, with her own money. (The Stupak Amendment in the now-dead House bill actually prohibited women getting coverage from exchanges or with subsidies from getting any abortion coverage at all.)

So this "tilt" that Douthat speaks of is a woman's right to pay for abortion coverage with her own money while simultaneously getting insurance through a government program or with government help. I wouldn't say this law makes it "much easier to obtain abortion-covering insurance." I would say that the law makes it "much easier to obtain insurance." Hell, I could argue that getting abortion coverage is now comparatively harder, since getting overall insurance is easier.

Finally, Douthat takes a shot at "the pro-choice left" which was erroneously standing up for the principle that "nobody should have to pay for an abortion out of pocket."

I admire the pro-life right for their insistence that they stand up for the principle that women should have to jump through as many hoops as possible to get a basic medical procedure, if it cannot be banned outright.

Small government, my ass.

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