In case a Republican hasn't thrown it at you yet, the health care bill is over 1,000 pages, you should probably start reading up on the bill now. This bill has given random elected officials their day in the sun, from Olympia Snow to Max Baucus, and now Orrin Hatch and Bart Stupak. Hatch has introduced an amendment titled "Religious Non-discrimination in Health Care," and is co-sponsored by John Kerry. Stupak has introduced "the Stupak Amendment," which strictly limits any indirect or direct federal funding of abortions. Both of these amendments are in the House bill that passed, and both are in the Senate bill that is up for debate.
Orrin Hatch, Republican from Utah, and John Kerry, Democrat from Massachusetts, have literally formed an unholy alliance. Under pressure from their Christian Scientist constituents, both Congressmen have decided that the government should pay for prayer. That's right. The new health care bill includes coverage for prayer services. This wouldn't even exist, except for the fact that both Senators' states have large populations of people that don't believe in modern medicine. Christian Scientists believe that the world is an illusion, that all you need is faith to heal yourself, and that taking medicine is a showing lack of faith. Several states and insurance companies already pay for "doctor visits" for the Christian Scientists, which amount to twenty-dollar prayer services. You know, "please Lord, stop making us believe this garbage and give my baby with cancer chemo..." The major problems with this amendment are that "faith healing" costs could sky rocket, and that the amendment is so broad that almost anything can be shown as faith healing. Attention all stoners; this means your bong sessions could be covered if you BELIEVE that pot heals you. There has been a minor uproar about this amendment throughout the skeptical movement, but not enough to remove this retarded vestigial organ.
Bart Stupak is a Democratic Congressman from Michigan. He felt is was necessary to create an amendment to the Health Care Bill that banned Federal funding for abortions. Stupak didn't care that the bill already had zero funds for abortions in it, and that a previous law had already banned abortions! No! Stupak wanted his day in the sun, and he got burned. What the amendment makes sure is that the Federal government doesn't allow any insurance plan with abortion coverage to be offered with the bill or with Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Basically, if you want to have the public option, you won't get abortions covered in your health insurance plan. So to all you women that a. can't afford insurance in the first place, and b. have an unwanted pregnancy, be prepared to save up five hundred dollars and walk through picketed protesters even if you get the public option in three years. The problem with the amendment is what it forces insurance companies to do; make one type of plan with abortions covered, and one without. Many women's rights activists are claiming that this will be too much work on the insurance industry, which will just eliminate abortion coverage altogether. Another major problem is that poor women who are unable to provide for a child, will be unable to get an abortion simply because some religious people think a first, second, or third trimester fetus is an actual American citizen.
The reason why Stupak's amendment passed in the first place; overwhelming Republican support, has come back to hilariously haunt those that voted for it. The Republicans have, for eighteen years, had an insurance policy which covered abortions. When that news came out last week, the GOP dropped their plan, and changed it to one without abortion coverage. Smart move, except that they didn't switch health care providers, so technically, they are still paying for abortions, just not directly. Stay tuned on that front.
The Stupak amendment looks like it will not make it into the final bill, mainly because of women's rights activists and a petition signed by forty Democratic Congressmen and women claiming that they will not vote for a bill with this amendment attached. The Kerry-Hatch amendment has received much less hoopla and has a much greater chance of surviving the final vote; if there is one. So call, email, write, and visit your elected officials and tell them what you think and why you think it. Hopefully more garbage like these two amendments will not be allowed into this bill, and hopefully every piece of trash already in the bill gets thrown out. Stay skeptical, keep reading, and thanks for your support!
The Political Atheist