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More proof that the health care bill is “anti-life”

March 31, 2010

Truthout alerts us to ten things we didn’t know were in the health care bill. Among them are such awful, anti-life measures as:

3. Right to pump. Workplaces will have to provide “reasonable” break time and a private location — other than a bathroom — for breastfeeding mothers to pump breast milk for one year after the birth of a child. Women’s groups have long sought such guarantees, and this one will apply to all workplaces with the exception of employers with less than 50 employees, where the demand might create an “undue hardship.”

4. Postpartum depression. In addressing another priority for women’s groups, the bill singles out the problem of postpartum depression for expanded funding, worker training, publiceducation and research. The National Institute of Mental Health is due to conduct a national longitudinal study of women with postpartum depression, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services must produce a study on the benefits of PPD screening.

6. Adoption credit. Beginning with your 2010 taxes, the federal adoption credit goes up by $1,000 to $13,170 per child and now becomes refundable.

9. Abstinence education. The bill restores federal funding for abstinence-only education, the sex-ed technique that urges students to wait until marriage (while eschewing talk of contraceptives). Researchers dispute the effectiveness of the strategy, and it was getting the cold shoulder from the Obama administration. The health reform bill, however, allocates $250 million for such programs over the next five years.

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19 Comments
    • March 31, 2010 1:17 pm

      Itstheorientation

      Don’t you understand yet — insurance companies have the death panels now. The resources are not unlimited. The fact that there will be a determination of goods is in any system — but the new safeguards extend those goods to many more, so that the “panel” requirements are greater than they were before the passing of the bill. It is not perfect, but at least understand the reality of the situation.

  1. David Nickol permalink
    March 31, 2010 1:25 pm

    Itstheorientation,

    I am not sure exactly what you are trying to say, but it is clear that Krugman is not talking about “death panels,” but about expensive treatments that don’t do any good.

    There was a 60 Minutes story on this topic last year, and here’s a very brief excerpt:

    Last year, Medicare paid $50 billion just for doctor and hospital bills during the last two months of patients’ lives – that’s more than the budget of the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Education.

    And it has been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of these medical expenditures may have had no meaningful impact. Most of the bills are paid for by the federal government with few or no questions asked.

    When some people are getting expensive medical treatments that have “no meaningful impact,” and other people are getting no medical treatment at all and are dying, I don’t see how a society can countenance expensive, worthless “treatment” for some and no treatment for others.

    It would be another thing if what were under discussion were limiting end-of-life treatment so that patients spent, say, half the time in the intensive care unit receiving aggressive treatment than they do now while in the process of dying. I see absolutely nothing wrong with making decisions like that based on the common good. But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about cutting out expensive but pointless medical procedures.

  2. Frank permalink
    March 31, 2010 1:29 pm

    Right to pump
    This is irrelevant. No decent mother would consider working outside the home and no decent Christian husband would allow her to do so.

    Postpartum depression
    More liberal psycho-babble. Any woman who claims to suffer from this so-called malady needs to pull herself together and get her mind off herself. She can start by cleaning the house and fixing dinner for her man.

    Adoption credit
    I smell higher taxes all over this. Those of us who don’t adopt will be forced to subsidize other peoples’ choices with our tax dollars. Why should I pay more so they can pay less?

    Abstinence education
    Do not be fooled by the most pro-abortion president in the history of the world. This so-called abstinence education is a trojan horse designed to lure millions of women to federally-subsidized abortion mills.

  3. Keith permalink
    March 31, 2010 2:37 pm

    Frank- You’re joking right? I find it pretty hard (in fact impossible) to believe that anybody would actually believe what you’ve posted–especially about women working outside the home and postpartum depression.

  4. Kurt permalink
    March 31, 2010 2:46 pm

    Frank,

    Thank you for that!

    To All,

    First of all, good devotion for Holy Week.

    There is one big issue to tackle with the health care bill. For decades the Pro-Life Movement has downplayed abortion in private insurance rather than upset its corporate allies. In many ways, this is why they had to twist themselves in all sorts of contortions over health care reform to pretend there was federal funding of abortion in it.

    But now that the widespread practice of abortion in private health plans has been brought to the public’s attention and that consumers will have new rights to buy private insurance that is abortion-free, efforts are needed to take advantage of this positive development.

    Is the Pro-Life Establishment ready to break away from their Big Business allies and take this on for the first time? Or are new organizations needed to work at freeing consumers from subsidizing abortion and abortion-providing corporations?

  5. Paul DuBois permalink
    March 31, 2010 3:38 pm

    Kurt,
    The question should never be what are they (in this case the pro-life establishment) going to do, but should be what can we (as each of us) do to get the word out and encourage people to strangle the funding for this killing.

  6. March 31, 2010 3:55 pm

    Paul – “Never”? Really?

  7. Cindy permalink
    March 31, 2010 11:01 pm

    Right to pump
    This is irrelevant. No decent mother would consider working outside the home and no decent Christian husband would allow her to do so.

    Ok, so aparently everyone has a disposable income and if they get pregnant, everyone can afford to stay home. Just goes to show how you are not in touch with the real world.

  8. Ronald King permalink
    April 1, 2010 6:04 am

    Frank, I do hope you are joking as well.

  9. David Nickol permalink
    April 1, 2010 6:28 am

    I think Frank is to be commended for taking the clearly correct — but also clearly unpopular — position on what the online Catholic Encyclopedia (of 1912) refers to as “the woman question.” From the entry Woman:

    The second branch of the woman question, which of necessity follows directly after that of gaining a livelihood, is that of a suitable education. The Catholic Church places here no barriers that have not already been established by nature. Fénelon expresses this necessary limitation thus: “The learning of women like that of men must be limited to the study of those things which belong to their calling; The difference in their activities must also give a different direction to their studies.” The entrance of women as students in the universities, which has of late years spread in all countries, is to be judged according to these principles. Far from obstructing such a course in itself, Catholics encourage it. This has led in Germany to the founding of the “Hildegardisverein” for the aid of Catholic women students of higher branches of learning. Moreover, nature also shows here her undeniable regulating power. There is no need to fear the overcrowding of the academic professions by women.

    In the medical calling, which next to teaching is the first to be considered in discussing the professions of women, there are at the present time in Germany about 100 women to 30,000 men. For the studious woman as for others who earn a livelihood the academic calling is only a temporary position. The sexes can never be on an equality as regards studies pursued at a university.

    Truth is truth, and it does not change just because a century has gone by.

    • April 1, 2010 8:00 am

      I’m quite certain Frank was parodying a certain type of people — sometimes, it’s hard for people to tell, but remember his other posts around here, and it is quite clear — it was a joke, but one with a certain point (about some of the people who argue against the law)

  10. brettsalkeld permalink*
    April 1, 2010 8:27 am

    Frank’s only problem is that the joke took place in a context where people actually say things like that. It is right on the edge of believable. Good work Frank.

  11. Ronald King permalink
    April 1, 2010 9:13 am

    Thanks Henry for making that clear. Could you edit this and put in:
    Frank you had me freaked:)

  12. April 1, 2010 11:54 am

    Kurt –

    I think you’re right that the various pro-life groups need to focus on the abortion supplied by private insurance companies. I don’t think it will be the “first time” ever, but hopefully the first coordinated and concerted effort.

    Michael –

    I, and I expect the Bishops conference and many Catholics from all states of life, rejoice in all that is good in the bill. It just does not excuse the loopholes created for new federal abortion funding – funding which was not necessary to the bill and would have done no harm to the bill if removed.

  13. David Nickol permalink
    April 1, 2010 1:27 pm

    It just does not excuse the loopholes created for new federal abortion funding – funding which was not necessary to the bill and would have done no harm to the bill if removed.

    What loopholes?

  14. Kurt permalink
    April 1, 2010 3:13 pm

    Robert,

    Yes, could you explain what loopholes that allow abortion funding?

    And as you do so, let me take one matter off the table. The bill includes no federal funding for abortion and includes new and unprecedented rights for consumers not to have to use their private premium payments for abortion. Admittedly, given the Right-to-Life Establishment’s historic lack of concern for the later, they may not consider that aspect to be of much significance. But I do, in that I am not an apologist for Big Business.

    In my mind, could have bill have gone even further in restricting private insurance premiums from going for abortion in a way that would have done no harm to the bill? Yes. But this was not politically possible because of the number of pro-choice supporters of the bill. And please, none of the fake outrage from some on the Catholic Right that there are pro-choicers in the coaliton for health care reform. Of course there are. But this is about policy not persons.

  15. April 1, 2010 9:20 pm

    Seriously?

    Now, I’m not a lawyer, and I haven’t read the bill, but I do trust that the USCCB has done their homework on this. So, please look at the USCCB memo which details their specific objections to the bill.

    Here is a pertinent passage:
    Courts have held that when Congress authorizes the provision of comprehensive health
    services, it must pay for “medically necessary abortions,”2 except insofar as Congress expressly
    excludes abortion funding. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan v. Engler, 73 F.3d 634,
    637-38 (6th Cir. 1996) (holding that a state’s refusal to pay for “medically necessary” abortions
    for which federal funding is not expressly barred by Congress violates Medicaid’s general
    requirement that the state provide medically necessary services).

    Essentially, the bill provides funding that bypasses the Hyde Amendment (because Hyde only applies to funding provided via Health & Human Services) and therefore is subject to the judicial requirement to cover abortion services.

    That’s a loophole.

    And please, no “fake outrage” that this is news to you (I’ve seen the discussions on this very blog), or that it doesn’t mean what the bishops think it means. Just because the bishops aren’t lawyers or legislators doesn’t mean they’re legal ignoramuses. To say nothing of the experts they’ve consulted in forming their position.

    I am no right-winger. I am glad that some kind of health reform has been passed, and (as I said above) I rejoice that there is a great deal of real good in the bill.

    But none of this alters the status of federal abortion funding from evil to good.

    None of this excuses us from continuing to work for ongoing and life-preserving health care reform.

  16. Kurt permalink
    April 2, 2010 6:01 am

    Robert,

    Now, I’m not a lawyer, and I haven’t read the bill, but I do trust that the USCCB has done their homework on this.

    I have read the bill, I am a legislative analyst by profession and I have come to a different conclusion. I don’t fault you for your trust on a private basis, but I don’t think you are right to suggest that I or others set aside our professional judgment.

    The USCCB memo fails on a number of fronts.

    The Engler case dealt with the question of could a state prohibit Medicaid abortions in a situation where federal policy (the Hyde Amendment) authorized it (rape, incest or the life of the mother).
    Medicaid is a mandatory spending program. Like Veterans’ Benefits or Social Security, if certain criteria are met, the spending is authorized and appropriated. Therefore, if a benefit is deemed authorized, it is covered.

    The CHC is a discretionary spending program. There is broad language authorizing its mission and a specific dollar amount of funding given each budget year. Appropriated dollars never come close to fulfilling the authorized services in this or most other discretionary spending programs. Therefore, the Executive Branch has wide authority to direct spending as it sees fit among the activities authorized in the program.

    Second, the way the Hyde Amendment is written, it would certainly cover any unspent CHC funds as of its expected renewal on October 1, 2010. The claim of funds delivered to the CHCs, court suits filed to nullify the E.O., cases heard, rulings made and abortion authorized all before that date (and just for the purpose of allowing abortions during that short window, if there even was such a window) is a little much.

    But for a third point, many would say the mid-year appropriation of funds to the CHC become covered immediately by the FY10 Hyde Act as they are co-mingled with HHS funds from the FY10 appropriation. For those that don’t accept the principle of co-mingling, I would ask the question, in the past when there have been supplemental or mid-year appropriations, has the USCCB or the NRTLC asked that Hyde language be included in the supplemental? I don’t recall that they did.

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