Terry Jeffrey

At a committee hearing last week, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland provided a classic example of a morally bankrupt legislator seeking to insidiously force Americans to cooperate with and fund an objectively evil cause.

On Thursday, July 9, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee met to consider amendments to the legislation it is drafting to rearrange the entire U.S. health care system.

While chairing the hearing, Mikulski offered an obscurely worded, two-part amendment.

The first part required literally all health insurance companies in America to provide unspecified "preventive care and screenings" for "pregnant women and individuals of child-bearing age." The specific services involved would be determined later in guidelines approved by a federal agency called the Health Resources and Services Administration.

This part of the amendment said: "A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall provide coverage for, and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements (other than minimal cost sharing in accordance with guidelines developed by the Secretary) for, with respect to women (including pregnant women and individuals of child bearing age), such additional preventive care and screenings not covered under section 2708 as provided for in guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration."

The second part of the amendment applied to health insurers participating in government-run insurance networks -- so-called "American Health Benefit Gateways" -- that the bill directs each state to create. These "gateways," consisting of a government-run insurance company plus "qualified" private insurance companies, would offer federally subsidized insurance to Americans earning less than 400 percent of the poverty level (currently $88,000 for a family of four).

In order to "qualify" to participate in these gateways, Mikulski's amendment said, the secretary of health and human services must certify that the insurer includes "within health insurance plan networks those essential community providers, where available, that serve predominantly low-income, medically underserved individuals, such as health care providers defined in section 340B(a)(4) of the Public Health Service Act and providers described in section 1927 (c) (1)(D)(i)(IV) of the Social Security Act as set forth by section 21 of Public Law 111-8."

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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