November 9, 2009

Universal Coverage: A Backdoor to Roe v Wade?

There are quite a few articles in the news right now about the potential to restrict the availability of abortions to women in any new healthcare reform bill. To be quite frank, I can't imagine how anyone could be surprised at this.

There are probably fewer issues that are more 'hot button' in American politics than abortion. And it has been demonstrated that there are blocks of both Republicans AND Democrats in Congress who don't believe in the rights of women to have access to abortions, as i'm sure that most Democrats are shocked to discover right now. And those politicians, through their ability to derail the bill in entirety, have banded together to severely restrict the availability of funding for abortion procedures in any plans that participate in the government exchange - at least in the House version of the bill.

This is the Faustian bargain that healthcare reform advocates need to accept and embrace as part of any potential success. As long as abortion remains a politically relevant issue,they can rest assured that there will be a lot of politicians fighting to make sure that it doesn't get paid for out of publicly contributed funds. In fact, the more successful that they are (i.e. - this initial system either ends up in the adoption of a European system of government provided and paid health care or the government ends up as the sole provider for health insurance), the more likely that the long-term debate won't be about the availability of coverage for abortion but rather the real capacity to even obtain one.

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