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Oppose Stealth Stupak Provision in Senate Bill
A nearly 400-page Manager's Amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), being debated currently, contains a provision every bit as bad as the infamous House-passed Stupak-Pitts Amendment. The provision was drafted to gain the vote of abortion rights opponent Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and is a complicated variation of Stupak-Pitts. It allows any state to prohibit abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges. In addition, all funds that would pay for abortion services would have to be segregated from other private funds and federal subsidies. This requirement would apply to the tens of millions of women who would buy their insurance under the new exchanges and, in the opinion of expert health policy analysts, would mean that insurers simply would not provide abortion coverage in the exchange plans. Eventually, insurers would stop offering abortion coverage altogether.
The Senate health care reform bill is highly flawed now, with the leadership having been forced by a lone senator, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), to drop the most important components of reform: a public option and the Medicare buy-in for persons ages 55 to 64. While there are remaining aspects of the legislation that are positive, these three factors -- an abortion coverage ban, no public plan and no Medicare buy-in -- make the Senate bill unacceptable, in our view.
Call your senators directly to their Washington, D.C., offices (please do not dial the main switchboard, as it is likely overwhelmed with calls from abortion rights opponents), and urge them to oppose the Manager's Amendment. You can make the call by going to our website, entering your zipcode, and then clicking on the "info" link under each of your senators.
If the Manager's Amendment is adopted, ask your senators to vote against the entire bill. The Senate does not HAVE to pass this flawed bill before Christmas, but they MUST fix the bill to remove onerous abortion restrictions! And the senators should restore the public option and the Medicare buy-in as well.
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