by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com Editor
September 25, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The Senate Finance Committee had been expected to vote this week on a slate of pro-life amendments offering fixes to abortion funding and rationing problems in the Baucus health care bill. However, the panel adjourned today without having voted on them.
The panel, dominated by abortion advocates, will reconvene on Tuesday morning -- which gives pro-life advocates more time to support the amendments.
As several pro-life groups have noted, the Baucus bill opens the door to massive abortion funding, though one change Sen. Max Baucus made to his measure prevented the bill from making it so abortions allowed under the Hyde amendment could be mandated in the health care scheme it sets up.
Still, according to National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson, "The bill contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion."
"In addition, the Baucus bill requires that a specific charge must be included in the premiums paid by those who enroll in such subsidized plans, of at least '$1 per enrollee, per month,' which amounts to a surcharge specifically for elective abortions," he said. "The Baucus bill provides $6 billion in federal funds for the establishment of health insurance cooperatives, without any limitation on the use of these funds to pay for abortions or to subsidize plans that pay for elective abortions."
To fix these problems, pro-life senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Mike Enzi of Wyoming have proposed a handful of amendments.
At least six pro-life amendments will be offered that address abortion funding, state laws and the conscience rights of pro-life medical professionals who do not want to be forced to perform or refer for abortions.
Meanwhile, pro-life groups are also supporting amendments to fix the rationing components found in the Baucus health care "reform" measure.
The concern revolves around one provision that penalizes Medicare doctors who provide higher levels of medical treatment to senior citizens.
Senator Jon Kyl, a pro-life Arizona Republican and Senator Pat Roberts, a pro-life Kansas Republican, are behind amendments.
They would remove the provision that establishes that, for at least five years, Medicare physicians who authorize treatments for their patients that wind up in the top 10% of per capita cost for a year will lose 5% of their total Medicare reimbursements for that year.
Votes on the pro-life amendments would follow other votes this summer in which another Senate committee defeated an amendment to stop tax-funded abortions.
When the Finance committee does vote, the pro-life side starts with a disadvantage as the committee is dominated 14-8 by abortion advocates with all of the Democrats on the panel and one Republican, Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, backing abortion.
Action: Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to support amendments to make sure abortion funding and rationing are specifically excluded from the Baucus bill. You can find members of the panel here. http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/committee.htm
National Right to Life - http://www.NRLC.org