Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Medicare for All and the Hyde Amendment

What does Bernie Sanders' 'Medicare for All' do about the Hyde Amendment?  This is the conversation we should be having about his healthcare initiative, and there's a cogent (though somewhat caustic) discussion happening over at Balloon Juice about it.

One of the issues that is being elided over by (Sanders') plan is the assumption that the Hyde Amendment won’t apply.  The Hyde Amendment is a long standing restriction on federal funds for abortions.  The Stupak Amendment in the House Bill and the Nelson  Amendment in the passed PPACA enshrined Hyde into PPACA. 
My company offers full coverage for elective abortion for commercial, employer sponsored coverage unless the employer specifically requests that we don’t cover it.  Most insurers offer full coverage with only normal co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles for elective abortion because it is a simple and straightforward medical procedure. 
Going to single payer in a universe where Hyde/Nelson applies means the vast majority of women who don’t have $500 to $1,000 in spare cash lying around lose access to affordable abortion options.

I'm pretty sure that they need that much money, or more, now (2009 statistic) if they don't have any (or very limited) healthcare coverage now.  That's to say nothing of the expense associated with onerous restrictions within the Texas law, such as hospital admitting privileges that resulted in closed clinics across the state, necessitating 300-mile one way trips, two times, to satisfy the waiting period.  And so on.

And this is where Larry Levitt’s comment comes into play.   Our political universe has a demonstrated durable anti-female sexual autonomy majority of 240+ votes in the House during the most liberal Congress in two generations.  Any Democratic House majority on current maps will have dozens of representatives from districts that are more Republican than the nation.  Better maps in 2022 will still have a marginal House seat be a Republican leaning seat.  Even deep Blue seats are not guarantees to produce pro-female sexual autonomy votes (Lipinsky, Lynch etc). 

This is part of the larger objection Clintonites, i.e. 'pragmatists' have about electing Sanders, which is essentially culled down to "he won't be able to get anything through Congress" (as if Obama has, or Clinton would).  And that reveals another of my many objections to a second Clinton presidency (or a third Obama one, if you prefer): that one of her 'grand bargains' with Republicans in Congress whittles, privatizes, or eliminates more of the New Deal programs that first created an American middle class, dooming this nation to an austerity so severe that a shooting revolution becomes more possible than a political one.

If you still don't get that, then read this.

In related news, and apparently in response to my challenge, Ted steps up and applauds the DNC.  He just steadfastly and stubbornly refuses to comprehend that 'progressive' and 'politically correct liberal' are two very different things.

Update (1/23): Sanders calls for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

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