Check out Barack Obama’s weekly address – this one is dedicated to health care reform. “We know there are those who will oppose reform no matter what…[who] use the same scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from this relentless escalation in health care costs.” He then goes on to answer some FAQs – cost questions about the deepening of deficits (“I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits over the next decade…the reforms we make will help bring our deficits under control in the long term.”), the rationing of care and the ability to choose doctors (he keeps with the “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” mantra). He ends by urging the House and the Senate to vote for reform and keep this process moving.
In other health reform news, Peter Orszag (the White House budget director) and Kathleen Sebelius (the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services) and other appointed and elected officials in the White House have been making firm statements about the timeline and the need for reform. The importance of the final being deficit neutral has been an important part of recent reform discussions; House legislation has been rated by the Congressional Budget Office at $239 billion over ten years.
Also, RH Reality Check outlines the amendments put forward by Steve Buyer (R-IN) proposing higher premiums for those who engage in unprotected sex. Wow. Check out this other article from the AFL-CIO website that cites our own Amy Allina from the National Women’s Health Network, and this article that makes the case for including immigrants in health care reform.
This article from the New York Times gives an updated look into what the White House is saying about abortion coverage in health care plans in reform. Even though federal funds are explicitly excluded from funding non-rape, non-incest abortions for recipients of Medicaid, Republicans are worried about federal funds going toward abortions. This could potentially be the case, if subsidies given by the government to women of low income are used for abortion care.
Some of the quotes from the article are painfully out of date, with quotes from Kathleen Sebelius from April that are actually just wrong. She is quoted in the article as saying that most health insurance plans don’t cover abortion services. This isn’t true, and the Guttmacher Institute has found that about 89% of private insurance plans cover abortion care. Tut, tut, New York Times – shotty reporting.