UPDATE, 2p: National Right to Life has issued a statement on the Nelson “compromise.” Excerpt:
NRLC… strongly opposes the abortion language contained in the “manager’s amendment” filed today…. Reid intends to press for Senate approval of the language during the days immediately ahead, without allowing an opportunity for any revisions to be considered.
The manager’s amendment is light years removed from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was approved by the House of Representatives on November 8 by a bipartisan vote of 240-194. The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems….
UPDATE, 1:25p: A
Dem Republican senator has accused Nelson of holding preborn babies hostage (before sentencing them to public funded death) to get to get perks for NE, according to The Hill, which also notes Nelson’s “compromise” has not received the blessing of the USCCB…
That language has not won backing of the Catholic bishops, though, unlike the Stupak amendment in the House. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) noted that Nelson stood by himself Saturday morning to announce the agreement.
“He couldn’t find one group to stand by him and validate what he was saying,” Graham said.
Sen. Richard Burr (
DR-NC) took umbrage with Nelson, implying that he used his anti-abortion stance to help negotiate a better deal for the state of NE. The manager’s amendment released by Reid on Saturday has NE receiving extra Medicaid funds. In an earlier press conference, the Senate leader called it a “minor point” in winning Nelson’s vote.
UPDATE, 1:20p: Per Kathryn Lopez, Sen. Coburn has thoroughly blasted the Nelson abortion “compromise” in a press conference:
“As somebody that’s delivered thousands of babies and that has a personal interest in the pro-life issue, the claim that this is a pro-life rider in this bill is absolutely fictitious.” The Nelson negotiations “threw unborn babies under the bus.”
“Federal funds around the country — even with the opt out — will be used to fund abortions.”
“This is far worse than the Casey proposal, it’s far worse than the Capps proposal, and it will in fact eliminate, through the courts, the Hyde Amendment.”
“If Barbara Boxer is okay with this language, nobody in the right-to-life community is going to be okay with it.”
[HT: moderator Carder]
UPDATE, 12:20p: Even the Daily Kos is calling Ben Nelson a sell out. That’s bad.
UPDATE 11:10a: Here’s the CBO score, just released.
UPDATE, 11:05a: Here’s the bribe Nelson took.
UPDATE, 11:03a: The Senate will vote to end debate on the Reid’s manager’s amendment around 1a Monday morning. CALL your senators. Talking point:
You oppose the so-called abortion compromise in the manager’s amendment of the healthcare bill, because it subsidizes insurance plans that cover abortion, which is contrary to longstanding federal law.
Go to the National Health Care Task Force website to easily send emails to targeted Democrat senators.
UPDATE, 10:51a: A House source has emailed details on Reid’s manager’s amendment, as it relates to abortion:
The Manager’s Amendment does NOT contain language similar to the Stupak amendment approved by the House. Instead the section on abortion (starting on page 38) adds a provision allowing states to opt out of providing abortion coverage through the exchange and adds further layers of accounting requirements.
The result remains the same, contrary to longstanding policy, the federal government will subsidize private health insurance plans that cover abortion, and Americans will facilitate abortion by making it more easily available. The result will be more lives lost to abortion and more wounded mothers.
The Manager’s Amendment also strikes the public option and replaces it with a program similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program run by the Office of Personnel Management. However, unlike the FEHBP, the Director of OPM will contract with health insurance companies to provide insurance that includes abortion….
No word yet from National Right to Life, the USCCB, Planned Parenthood, or NARAL on their take, but here’s more decipherization, from Talking Points Memo:
Unlike the so-called Stupak language in the House, Nelson’s abortion language would not forbid people who receive subsidy assistance from the federal government from buying insurance policies that cover abortion. However, according to Nelson, the money that pays for each such policy will have to be separated into two pools–one that pays for the abortion coverage, and one for all other services.
UPDATE, 9:46a: Here is PoliticsDaily.com’s take on what got Nelson on board re: abortion, which is merely a different scheme to include public funded abortion in healthcare…
Nelson said Saturday that his concerns about abortion funding have been satisfied. “I have strongly held views and have fought hard to prevent federal funding for abortions,” he said. “I believe we have accomplished that goal.” In the managers’ amendment, states will be permitted to opt-out of providing abortion coverage on their own state-based health exchanges. An accounting mechanism was also added to segregate federal funds for subsidizing health insurance from private funds for abortion coverage.
The senator warned that his ultimate vote on the bill will not assured until he sees the results of the House-Senate conference committee, where the chambers will combine the two competing versions of the bill. “If there are material changes in that conference report, I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote,” he said. “I will vote against it if that is the case.”
Note: “Opt-out,” not “opt-in,” meaning guaranteed uphill fights in 50 states to stop public funded abortion in healthcare. “[S]egregate federal funds” – same ole, same ole.
UPDATE, 9:30a: From Harry Reid, on Twitter (with a link to the WashPo article I posted below)…
[HT: Matt Lewis]
UPDATE, 9:23a: Tweet from Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com: “@Jill Stanek It’s a complete cave on abortion. It’s essentially the same language as it was a few weeks ago.”
09:15a: It remains to be seen whether Nelson did a Benedict Arnold on public funded abortion in the healthcare bill. No word yet on what Reid’s manager’s amendment says about that. It is of note, however, that Nelson, like Landrieu, was bought off. From the Washington Post, within the hour:
Sen. Ben Nelson (NE), the final Democratic holdout on health care, was prepared to announce to his caucus Saturday morning that he would support the Senate reform bill, clearing the way for final passage by Christmas.
“We’re there,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), as he headed into a special meeting to announce the deal.
Democratic leaders spent days trying to hammer out a deal with Nelson, and worked late Friday night with Nelson on abortion coverage language that had proved the major stumbling block. But Nelson also secured other favors for his home state.
Asked if he was prepared to support the bill, Nelson said, “Yeah.”
With Nelson seemingly on board, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled the final version of a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health insurance system that would expand coverage to an additional 31 million Americans, coming closer to attaining the Democrats’ longsought goal of universal medical coverage….
[HT: reader Maria]