Senator Harry Reid
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Reid:
As you consider a manager’s amendment to your health care reform bill, I want to urge
you to include specific language that ensures your legislation comprehensively respects life. The
amendment needs to include significant and reasonable revisions to the bill in order to alleviate
the concerns of the majority of Americans about it’s life-related provisions.
The bill as currently written allows the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to
require coverage of any and all abortions through the community health insurance (public)
option. It also creates new federally-funded subsidies for private health plans that cover elective
abortions, and requires every insurance market to include a private plan that covers elective
abortions. Furthermore, with the addition of the Mikulski amendment, an administrative agency
can now determine that abortion is “preventive care” that must be covered by private insurance
companies. As you are aware, this would establish the greatest expansion of federal funding of
abortion since Roe v. Wade.
This bill’s current problems do not stop with mandatory abortion funding and coverage.
Currently, this legislation prohibits insurance plans from refusing to contract with abortion
providers, like Planned Parenthood, on the basis that they provide abortions. This bill presents
serious concerns that the federal government could misuse the results of Comparative
Effectiveness Research to deny or ration effective medical care. Also, this bill fails to prohibit
federal funding of assisted suicide, or to define the terms “assisted suicide” and “end of life
care,” to ensure that federal dollars are not being used to intentionally cause, or assist in causing,
Senator Reid, no health care provider or entity should be forced to participate in abortions
in violation of their conscience. Strong conscience protection must be included in this bill in
addition to strong protections for all Americans at the end of life. Real health care respects life
from beginning to end. Thank you for your time and consideration in this critical matter.
Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D.
President and CEO
A PDF of this letter can be found here: http://blog.aulaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ReidLetter.pdf