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The abortion compromise

The basic compromise is that states can impose the Stupak rules on their own exchanges, but the rules will not be imposed by the federal legislation. I've been assured that at least one plan in each state will cover abortion, but I'm still trying to get clarification on how that works (my hazy understanding is that at least one of national non-profit plans, and probably more, will include abortion coverage, and they'll be offered in all states).

This isn't a great deal, but it's a lot better than what's in the House bill.

That said, I liked David Waldman's response. The problem with leaving the decision up to the states, he says, is that it doesn't go far enough. "I think states should leave the abortion question up to the counties," he explains. "Then I think counties should leave the abortion question up to municipalities. Then the neighborhoods should leave the abortion question up to each block." And each block, as you might have guessed, should leave the abortion question up to each household.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 19, 2009; 12:59 PM ET
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Each household isn't good enough. In some places that means the man decides. It is the woman's choice!

Great point, though.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 19, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Do the WaPo style guidelines allow the use of the phrase "less worse"? Because that's much more accurate. This isn't "better", it's just "less worse".

Posted by: NicholasBeaudrot | December 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Household" isn't small enough for many daughters, partners, and wives.

Posted by: JaneG | December 19, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Great point Mimi and Jane!

The amended abortion section is still murky to me. Look forward to further clarification from EK.

Posted by: onewing1 | December 19, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

That noise you hear is the sound of civil rights being nibbled away. This is one of the reasons I say this bill is worse than nothing.

I've worked with poor red state teens to help them get abortions. The people who write these laws don't realize their actions directly cause women to be beaten by their families, to be kicked out of the home, or to have their dreams dashed by unplanned motherhood. Shame on you Harry Reid!

Posted by: bmull | December 19, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

You are wrong. While it mandates that there must be at least one plan that does not offer abortion, it DOES NOT MANDATE that there must be a plan that does offer abortion. In terms of the conscience clause it only protects those that refuse to provide such service not the ones that want to provide abortion service.

The accounting measure is so onerous that coupled with state opt out provisions, THE insurance template would be as limiting as the Stupak amendment. Since there is NO MANDATED ABORTION COVERAGE PLAN then insurance companies will stop offering such plans as they are not required to do so.

Also the amount of premium must fully pay for any abortion that is covered. So late term abortions that threaten a mother's health and eventually her fetal abnormalities such as hydrocephaly, anencephaly, diabetic conditions or or health and fertility events can never be covered as they cost thousands to tens of thouseands, even hundreds of thousands dollars.

This is a rotten amendment to a rotten bill.

Posted by: debcoop1 | December 19, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

To make this clear...
To are again wrong this is almost as bad as Stupak

Stupak objects to this for symbolic reasons but in the end it's almost as disastrous for abortion coverge as his amendment. The 4 states that mandate abortion coverage under Medicaid - NY, Washington, Hawaii and Maryland - will not outlaw insurance coverage...but all the rest may indeed do so....Most state legislatures are anti choice...

Posted by: debcoop1 | December 19, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

This whole federal money for abortion stuff is baloney.

If a policy has abortion coverage, it may cost a few grand per procedure. If it doesn't, and the patient delivers a baby -- it will cost far more. Now, sometimes the person will pay out-of-pocket (but not many poor folks).

So, the cost of the abortion coverage for the subsidized groups are likely a negative cost factor (meaning the policy without coverage would cost more).

Of course, reality doesn't matter in politics. Just perceptions.

Posted by: rat-raceparent | December 19, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Waldman's response is great.

Posted by: staticvars | December 20, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

It is appalling that the price for this bill is the degradation and increased unfreedom of women. Who will insure herself against an unplanned pregnancy? Against the complications that can accompany pregnancy? There is no policy rationale for tightening abortion restrictions; this is Democrats losing their souls.
Ezra, I've relied on your judgment in the past. Please look again at this spectacle: religious fanatics, allied with terrorists who kill doctors, destroying the most basic right women have -- the right to control their own bodies. Democrats cannot accept this. It is outright discrimination against women, irrational and murderous in practice. Ezra we need your help on this matter. We need you to exercise your conscience RIGHT NOW, please.

Posted by: JustGiveMeSomeTruth | December 20, 2009 4:08 AM | Report abuse

Debcoop1 is correct. The bill in fact removes the requirement that at least one plan offer abortion coverage. Moreover the implications for insurance coverage of abortion care, which is now routine, is the same as Stupak, i.e. to make the administrative and cost burdens so high as to make such coverage disappear from a sector that is about nothing if not maximizing profits.

I have written about what the language does at RH Reality Check,

Jodi Jacobson

Posted by: jjacobson1 | December 20, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

You forgot: and each household should leave the abortion question up to each woman.

Posted by: alessandra_barbadoro | December 21, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

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