Even one's stand on a moral issue like abortion can be compromised for the right deal. Inserting language that supposedly restricts federal funding of abortion in order to provide political cover to Sen. Nelson turns out to be a sham. According to House Minority Leader John Boehner, whose office wrote a critique of Reid's 383-page Manager's Amendment, "Everyone enrolled in these (health) plans must pay a monthly abortion premium and these funds will be used to pay for the elective abortion services. The Reid amendment directs insurance companies to assess the cost of elective abortion coverage and charge a minimum of $1 per enrollee every month."
Some defenders of this deal argue that federal money will be magically segregated when it comes to abortion and that money going to abortion providers will be for other "services." Even if this were true -- and there is little truth coming out of Washington these days -- that is like saying the government won't pay for the actual procedure, but it will subsidize other costs, such as the electric bill and the rent on the clinic's office space.
Republicans have done a good job highlighting the multiple flaws in the Senate bill (and the similarly long House bill). Most importantly for seniors, the Senate bill slashes hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to pay for a new government program. It includes massive tax increases on individuals and businesses, which means businesses are unlikely to hire workers at a time of double-digit unemployment. It includes a massive new entitlement program -- the CLASS Act (short for Community Living Assistance and Support Services) -- which Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad has described as "a Ponzi scheme of the first order" and which was recently opposed by a bipartisan majority, including 11 Democrats.
To their credit, Republicans have stood together in opposition to this health care fiasco. Their pledge to voters in the November 2010, election should be to repeal the measure and to offer real insurance and health care reform that will not include an abortion provision, new taxes, more entitlements and a bigger bureaucracy.
Yes, it can be done.
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