Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fact: abortion would be funded, care rationed

Andy Birkey at the Minnesota Independent is criticizing the new issue of MCCL News, in which we make the case against the current health care reform proposals before Congress, which would lead to government funding of abortion and rationed care.

As Birkey notes, we quote "Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans." But Birkey rejects our conclusion that abortions would be subsidized by the federal government, also citing, which claims that "language [was] added to the House bill that technically forbids using public funds to pay for [abortions]."

Here is actually mistaken -- the funds used for abortion would be "public" in any sense -- and we explain why in MCCL News ("Abortion not part of health care 'reform'? Don't believe it," page 4):
National Right to Life has issued a detailed memorandum demonstrating that all of the funds spent on elective abortions would be "federal funds" and "public funds" as those terms are defined in law and as they are used throughout the government. Under the House bill's (H.R. 3200) Capps Amendment, abortion providers would send their bills to the federal Department of Health and Human Services and receive payment checks drawn on a federal Treasury account. This would be direct federal government funding of elective abortion.
That public, not private, funds would be used for abortions under the bill was also confirmed by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Birkey also denies that government rationing of health care would occur based on age, disablity or "quality of life" considerations. But as Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics, explains: "The current sources of funds being considered to pay for health care restructuring are so inadequate in the long term that rationing will be compelled."

And as we point out on page 3 of MCCL News, the mechanisms for rationing based on age or disability are present in the different bills. See more here and here.

Birkey rejects our statement that "a substantial part of the cost under the proposals would be paid for by 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' − reducing Medicare funding for older people in order to cover the uninsured."

But here's what says: "It's true that the president and the Democratic health care bills in Congress propose to pay for part of the costs by holding down the future growth of Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, though Democrats now prefer to call them 'savings' rather than 'cuts.' "

Learn more.