Hallelujah! Health Care for All has Passed! Well almost….

Let’s all just be honest for a second. The majority of us have no clue what this new Health Care Reform bill is really about. I don’t even know what it is officially called. At one point it was the Affordable Health Care for America Act…but I think that had too much of a “socialist” sound to it for the Republicans. Maybe it is now the watered-down-we’re-not-Canada-health-care-reform bill?

Nancy Pelosi is credited for getting the final Democrat votes needed to pass the health care reform

Whatever the name and whether or not the “average” American can understand it, the news is still huge. Under the new act, millions of uninsured will have the opportunity to buy health insurance at reasonable prices, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, and people will not be saddled with thousands of dollars of medical debt because of one car accident, one cancerous lump or one medical misfortune.

Oh and women covered under this new glorious health care bill can no longer receive abortions. Or more specifically, women who want “abortion insurance” will have to pay a separate monthly premium for the service if they chose to enroll in the federal insurance program. The extra premium is meant to keep federal money out of the abortion business and keep the socio economic disparities enacted with the Hyde Amendment in the 70’s alive and well. Low-income women or under-insured women now have to make the decision whether or not they want to pay extra money every month incase they have an unwanted pregnancy.

What woman when filling out her federal insurance form is thinking, oh yeah better check the abortion box! You never know when the condom will break or my birth control will fail? No one will. No woman is using abortion as her main source for reproductive health. And no woman wants to wants to pay monthly for a service she never intends on using.

Despite attempts to create a bi-partisan bill, the health care reform act recieved all nays from the Republicans

And the Stupak Amendment (seriously why does his name have to look so much like stupid), instead of improving the health of women in the United States, will only complicate newly federally insured women’s medical decision to have an abortion. The stupid amendment will only add confusion and frustration to a process that is already confusing and frustrating enough.

All that said, the health care reform bill will do great good for millions of uninsured women. It will give them access to preventative health care, mammograms, cholesterol screenings, prenatal care, and a whole list ofother wonderful health benefits that every woman should have the right to while only denying the right to a safe, legal abortion. In the grand scheme, many are saying not such a bad deal for women.

The question for me remains, why does a Stupak get to decide what medical rights I have and what medical right I don’t have? Why does a man in Washington D.C. get to decide what is best for a single mother of two who can not afford another child? Why is abortion even part of this debate? And where will the provisions, amendments and sanctions end?

But, like I said, none of us really know what this new bill is. So I suggest we all keep reading and investigating and fighting for our right to have ALL our health care needs met including that right to choose. Below are a few sources for additional information:

Chicago Tribune did a decent job reciting what the president said in his speech late last night. “This is what change looks like,” the president said. Man, that guy has a good speech writer! http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2010/03/obamas_healthcare_win_this_is.html

NY Times gives an interesting view on what Obama lost and gained with the passing of the reform: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/health/policy/22assess.html?th&emc=th

Also at the NY Times, specifics on abortion provisions:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/19/us/politics/20100319-health-care-reconciliation.html?ref=policy#tab=12

Salon’s Broadsheet gives the opinion of the former President of Catholics for a Free Choice:
http://www.salon.com/news/abortion/index.html?story=/mwt/broadsheet/2010/03/21/repeal_hyde_amendment

Salon also gives a summery of the democrats who voted against the bill:
http://www.salon.com/news/healthcare_reform/index.html?story=/news/the_numerologist/2010/03/21/courageous_and_cowardly_democrats

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