We now have much more clarity on how the abortion provision in the Senate health care bill will work, and it's won the support of both senior administration officials, pro-choice Senators, and the co-chair of the House pro-choice caucus.
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"I am pleased that the U.S. Senate has maintained current law when addressing the abortion issue," says Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) in a statement to reporters. "By adopting a common-sense abortion provision, the U.S. Senate ensures that no federal funds will be spent on abortion coverage while not further restricting a woman's right to choose. The health care bill is about providing access to quality health care to over 36 million Americans. I encourage the U.S. Senate to work towards producing a bill that works for everyone."
DeGette included a breakdown of the Senate's abortion provision, which I've included below the fold. One of the key sections reads, "Issuers of health insurance plans that offer coverage for abortion beyond those permitted by the Hyde amendment must segregate from any premium and cost-sharing credits an amount of each enrollee's private premium dollars that is determined by the Secretary to be sufficient to cover the provision of those services."
Which is a fancy way of saying insurers will have to set up an accounting system to keep private money separate from federal money, and only draw upon the private money when paying providers for abortion. Compare that to the Stupak amendment to the House bill, which both requires separation of funds, but also prevents women who receive federal premium assistance from purchasing policies that cover abortion, and it's no wonder Harry Reid's compromise is being met with praise by pro-choice members.