Monday, March 22, 2010

House Passes Health Care Bill

                                                           National Health Care Bill Passes The House
The US House of Representatives gave final approval to a massive health care restructuring bill, which was strongly opposed by every major pro-life national group and the Catholic Conference of Bishops. The House vote was 219 to 212 in favor of the bill. All 219 votes in favor were cast by Democrats. The opposing (pro-life votes) 178 were cast by Republicans and 34 by Democrats. Because the Senate already approved the bill on December 24, 2009, it will go straight to President Obama for his signature. This is expected on Tuesday March 23rd. 
The margin for victory was an agreement between Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) and President Obama on the Health Care Bill. As you may know, Representative Stupak has always been in favor of national health care. His opposition was federal funding of abortion. He had a small coalition of Democrats, who were in favor of national health care, but opposed to federal funding of abortion. When an agreement was reached, between Representative Stupak and the President, the Democrats changed their vote to support the Senate National Health Care Bill.
The agreement was reached through a promise of an Executive Order, by President Obama. This Executive Order was issued for political effect; it changed nothing. It did not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an Executive Order; because the federal courts will enforce what the law says. Both President Obama and Representative Stupak knew that. 
The order did not correct any of the 7 objectionable pro-abortion provisions in the Senate Health Care Bill. The order did nothing at all to mitigate abortion related problems with the Senate Health Care Bill. It will create dangerous regulatory mandate authorities, revise Indian health programs, and create pools of directly appropriated funds, that are not covered by existing restrictions on abortion funding. Nor could the order correct the omission of the necessary conscience protection language, that had been included in the House Health Care legislation last November. 
Professor Robert Destro, a Professor of Law and former Dean of the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, and an expert on abortion related litigation, sent lawmakers a letter explaining why the bill opened the door to direct federal funding of abortion in Community Health Centers. In his letter, Professor Destro clearly explained why the statutory language will govern. 
Regarding the new program to provide tax-credits to purchase private insurance, the Executive Order merely tinkered with the formalities of a bookkeeping scheme, under which federal subsidies will pay for plans that cover elective abortion.  This is a break from the long-standing principle of the Hyde Amendment.   
The Illinois Delegation voted primarily along party lines, except for Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-3), who voted no on the health care bill, because he knew it still covered abortion. Please take some time to hold your Representative accountable for their vote, and be sure to thank all who voted

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