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Will Senator McCaskill Keep Her Promise?

Dear Senator McCaskill:

Will you keep your promise?

At a town hall meeting in Jefferson County last summer, you promised not to support health care legislation that included funding for abortion. With your elderly mother at your side, you also promised not to support health care rationing. Yet you voted to advance Senator Reid’s bill that includes massive abortion funding and rationing of care for the elderly and disabled.

The Senate bill establishes a public option and authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions throughout the public option program. (pg. 118) The bill also creates new government subsidies to purchase private health plans that directly pay for abortions. (pgs. 116 –124)

You claim that the Hyde Amendment prevents federal funding of abortion. In fact, the Hyde Amendment affects only funds allocated through the annual appropriations bill for the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The funding for both the House and Senate bills would not flow through the DHHS, and thus would not be covered by the Hyde Amendment.

Senator McCaskill, you oppose the Stupak-Pitts amendment passed by the House (with 64 Democrat votes) claiming that it prevents private plans from offering abortion coverage. In fact, that amendment prohibits coverage of abortion services only in the public health insurance option and private plans that receive federal subsidies. It does not prohibit individuals from purchasing plans with their own money that offer abortion services.

Instead, the Senate is supporting a re-wording of the Capps’ amendment, originally proposed but rejected in the House. Capps sets up an accounting scheme to hide government-funded abortions based on the ludicrous notion that money spent by the federal government is not federal money.

The Senate bill also contains numerous elements that would result in rationed medical care. It severely limits senior citizens’ ability to purchase supplemental insurance for care not covered by Medicare by empowering the federal government to exclude plans whose bids it doesn’t like. (pg. 920). In effect, this denies senior citizens, like your mother, the ability to use their own money to save their own lives.

Also, state commissioners of the new health insurance exchanges would be given the power to deny people who are trying to obtain policies in the insurance exchange the option of choosing health plans less likely to deny treatment by limiting what they would be allowed to pay for such policies. (beginning on pg. 37)

While your colleagues in the Senate avoided including the “advance care planning” provisions in the House bill, they achieve a similar result under the title “Shared Decisionmaking,” which funds and promotes “patient decision aids” to “help” patients make treatment decisions. (begins pg. 1106). These measures could “nudge” patients to reject life-saving treatment to save costs.
The Reid bill establishes a Medicare Advisory Board to force Medicare payments below the rate of medical inflation resulting in reduced medical care or forcing providers out of the Medicare program altogether. (begins on pg. 1000).

These elements, combined with inadequate funding and drastic cuts to Medicare, would result in rationing life-saving treatment.

Senator McCaskill, the question all Missouri citizens must ask now is will you keep your promise?

Pam Fichter
President, Missouri Right to Life

Please contact Senator McCaskill and ask her to oppose Senator Reid’s Health Care Reform legislation and any effort to include federal funding for abortion or any elements that would lead to rationing of care.

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