Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America [AHCA] Act introduces restrictions on access to abortion more severe than were passed previously, including during the Bush presidency. With broad agreement from voices as diverse as Michelle Bachmann, Joseph Stiglitz, and President Obama that something needs to be done to rein in health care overhead so that our money is spent effectively and more regular families don’t face bankruptcy due to medical costs, (what Bachmann calls providing a “safety net” for the uninsured,) there may be a severe backlash to this amendment that made a late entry into the process.
We know Congress has realized there’s enormous pressure to make real changes, as the chart shows (click to enlarge.) Clearly the White House has been doing extensive work behind the scenes despite both branches of Congress drafting their own bills.
“There’s going to be a firestorm here. Women are going to realize that a Democratic-controlled House has passed legislation that would prohibit women paying for abortions with their own funds.”U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Representative DeGette has helped author an open letter signed by 40 Democratic congresswomen demanding that these restrictions be taken out of the final bill. The AHCA Act contains numerous excellent provisions, helping protect Medicare subscribers and addressing the need for more primary care providers, for instance, but the last minute inclusion of gubernatorial hopeful Stupak’s language has stirred outrage among those who think there’s too much government interference already. What’s next – restricting funds for elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery following injuries?
For her part MN Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who stated in her town hall meeting in August in Lake Elmo, MN, that while there would have to be a “safety net” for those without insurance she would oppose anything that smacked of government interfering in and controlling medical decisions, voted against the bill – possibly because that’s precisely what the Stupak amendment does. Surely the 2010 elections are too distant for Bachmann to be moderating her anti-Obama stance over worries about losing her seat to Maureen Reed or current MN State Senator Tarryl Clark before she gets vested in the House retirement plan (although both are considerably more middle-of-the-road, and Clark has recently pulled a near-miraculous bi-partisan victory on behalf of the residents of the most populous city in Bachmann’s 6th District.)
Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, journalist, and political analyst who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community.