From a preliminary analysis of Majority Leader Reid’s manager’s amendment, it is clear that it is unacceptable and would be a radical departure from existing law and policy.
First, the amendment provides inadequate conscience protection, because it does not prohibit any government entity or program (federal, state, or local) from discriminating against health care providers that do not want to participate in abortions.
Second, the amendment fails to address our concerns that under the Mikulski amendment (already accepted in the underlying bill), the Health Resources and services Administration (HRSA) has the power to require private insurance plans to include abortion coverage under the guise of “preventive care.”
Third, the amendment allows insurance plans that cover abortions to receive government subsidies, which is a radical departure from existing law (which is not allowed under the Hyde Amendment and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program).
Fourth, while the amendment allows states to “opt-out” of allowing private plans that include abortion coverage to participate in their exchanges, this “opt-out” provision makes abortion coverage normative. In other words, states will have to act to prevent subsidies from going to plans that cover abortions in their state, turning on its head the traditional federal approach to abortion.
Fifth, the amendment fails to ensure federal funds will not go to assisted suicide.