FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Waxman Forces Re-Vote to Ensure Coverage for Taxpayer-Subsidized Abortion Remains in Health Care Bill
Yesterday afternoon, House Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) proposed an amendment to the House health care overhaul bill to allow for federal funding of elective abortion coverage for those enrolled in the “public option,” to mandate that every regional Health Insurance Exchange contain at least one private insurance plan that offers abortion coverage, and to permit taxpayer subsidies of those private insurance plans and others that cover elective abortion.
The Capps amendment passed 30-28, with E&C Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Capps, and 28 other Democrats voting in favor of mandating (and allowing taxpayer funding to be used to subsidize) abortion coverage.
Taxpayer dollars do not currently pay for, or subsidize, insurance plans that cover elective abortion services. This amendment, if the health overhaul bill to which it is attached is passed and signed into law, would alter that policy, using the tax dollars of every American – pro-life or pro-choice – to subsidize abortion coverage (and, by extension, abortion services).
Late last night, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) responded to the Capps amendment’s passage by proposing an amendment of his own. Pitts’s proposal would have prohibited the federal government from requiring any insurance plan — including the “public option” — to provide coverage for abortion (with the three chief exception of rape, incest, and life of the mother).
E&C passed the Pitts amendment by a 31-27 vote, with Waxman among the “Yea” votes. However, after the votes were in and the amendment passed, Waxman decided he wanted to change his vote, and so brought the amendment back up for “reconsideration” and a re-vote.
The second time around, Waxman voted against the amendment to prevent abortion coverage from being mandated in health insurance plans. He also convinced Blue Dog Democrat Bart Gordon (D-TN) to switch his vote from Yea to Nay, and pulled conflicted Blue Dog Zack Space (D-OH), who had managed to sit out the first round of voting, back into the debate. Space, who voted in favor of the Capps amendment earlier yesterday afternoon, succumbed to pressure from Waxman and cast his vote against the Pitts measure.
The result was a 30-29 defeat of the measure — a reversal of the initial outcome, and the Democratic preservation a health care overhaul bill that not only allows, but mandates, taxpayer-funded abortion coverage and services.