On Saturday night, the House of Representatives passed the health care reform bill, 220-215. However, the bill must still pass the Senate and be signed by the President to be enacted into law.
What exactly does health care reform represent? Will it be more of a setback for women than a push forward? The bill includes the Stupak Amendment, which bans any funding for abortions.
Considering the ban on partial birth abortions and the debates around health care reform, many people are worried that this will lead America back down a path in which Roe v. Wade could be overturned.
Could this slowly enact back to abortion being illegal again? Even if the answer is no, it will become much more difficult for a woman to procure an abortion and the necessary care involved in the procedure.
About the Bill
- The health care reform (Affordable Health Care for America Act aka H.R. 3962) does not allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or on the basis of gender and medical history.
- The public option is not enacted yet and could be stopped in the Senate with a state "opt-out" clause or the Republicans could filibuster.
- On the fence about the health care debate? Consider Dennis Kucinich's piece, "Why is it we have finite resources for health care but unlimited money for war?"
What You Should Know
Health care reform is a milestone event in the United States and will certainly change and affect the lives of millions across the board. Taking all of this in stride with media coverage and political debate, what does the health care bill mean to Americans and how will it affect us?
One of the biggest issues in this bill centers around abortion, which has its own amendment (the Stupak Amendment).
- Abortion is excluded from the bill. Which means that any person seeking an abortion would have to pay the total cost.
- Since federal funds are prohibited from this bill, this can create a large out-of-pocket expense and hampers reproductive rights. Of course abortion is still legal, but the Stupak amendment could create limitations by means of economic access.
- In many cases, the financial aspect (i.e. lack of money) will deny women the ability to get an abortion because they cannot pay for it.
- Federal funding is not banned in concern with abortion within the realms of incest, rape, and health danger to the mother.
- However, since all health insurance companies will be funded by the government, there will be no funding for abortion. The National Organization for Women stated that the Stupak Amendment "obliterate women's fundamental fundamental right to choose."
- This amendment is supported by both Republicans and conservative Democrats. According to cnn.com: "The GOP accounted for 174 of the votes in favor of the amendment, with 1 Republican voting "present." On the Democrats' side, 64 voted for the measure, and 194 voted against.")
What You Can Do
- Stay informed! Read up on health care reform from a variety of view points. Websites and news programs have different biases and view points. Check back often.
- Get active. Write letters, go to meetings, public forums, and community functions.
Stay informed and follow these websites for updates on health care reform: http://www.healthreform.gov/
The New York Times
Image courtesy of healthcareforamericanow.org