Health Care Reform Round Up

280There’s so much to say about health care reform. Rather than doing one mammoth post, I thought it would be better to just do a quick hit on several aspects of the health care debate.

Here’s a great article from The American Prospect about midwives. Miriam Perez notes:

Childbirth is among the top five causes for hospitalization, and the No. 1 cause for women. According to Childbirth Connection, Cesarean section is the most common operating-room procedure, and in 2009 the C-section rate hit an all-time high according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at 31.8 percent of all births. These rates account, in part, for the increasing cost of maternity care in the U.S. Maternal and newborn charges totaled $86 billion in 2006, 45 percent of which was paid for by Medicaid. The federal government is already footing a huge portion of the U.S.’ maternity-care bill, and these midwives think they can help reduce costs significantly, and not just for low-income women.

It isn’t coincidental that we’re seeing this kind of progress for CPMs during an economic downturn. Midwives like Bartlett are often the only option for pregnant women who are underinsured, as many in her state are. She’s seen a growth in her midwifery practice in recent years, and many of the women who come to her fall between the gap of the privately insured and those who qualify for Medicaid. These women choose to enlist Bartlett’s services (a bargain at around $3,000) rather than pay out of pocket for a hospital birth (around $8,500) or even the high deductible for their insurance plan.

It would be great if the health care reform package increased coverage for midwives and doulas. But something tells me that the medical industry will lobby against it. Then again, they’re going to be against the package as a whole – profit margins and what not – so perhaps this is a nonissue for them.

The New York Times is getting on the “abortion will sink health care” band wagon.

Peter R. Orszag, the White House budget director, asked whether he was prepared to say that “no taxpayer money will go to pay for abortions,” answered: “I am not prepared to say explicitly that right now. It’s obviously a controversial issue, and it’s one of the questions that is playing out in this debate.”

Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, who along with Mr. Orszag was asked about the issue on “Fox News Sunday,” said it had the potential to complicate the legislative battle over health care. “I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue,” Mr. Gregg said.

The article concludes with this:

Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, was asked about the issue in April when her nomination was being considered by the Senate Finance Committee.

“Most private plans do not cover abortion services except in limited instances, but do cover family planning,” Ms. Sebelius said. “And Congress has limited the Federal Employee Health Benefit plan to covering abortion services only in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.”

I already said it last week, but it is worth repeating: abortion is a red herring in the health care reform debate. The issue is being raised by GOP members of Congress who were never going to vote for health care reform anyway. Their entire goal in all of this is to split the Democratic vote, since 19 Democrats in the House have publicly stated that they will not support abortion coverage. All this, despite the fact that 71% of Americans support reproductive health coverage.

Interesting that so much hoopla is being raised over extending coverage for health care providers who offer abortion services, even if the funds won’t be used to pay for abortions themselves, when anti-choicers are perfectly content to let Congress fund “crisis pregnancy centers” with taxpayer dollars.

Randall Terry is using the health care reform debate as an excuse for his violent agenda. He is promising an increase in anti-choice domestic terrorism if Congress supports funding for reproductive health services. Talk about wackadoodle!

Don’t let the wing nuts hijack health care reform. Send a message to your Congress members and tell them to support comprehensive health care reform for all Americans.

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