NATIONAL POLITICS & POLICY | House Ways and Means Panel Rejects Amendments To Exclude Abortion Coverage From Health Reform
[July 17, 2009]
The House Ways and Means Committee
on Thursday voted 23-18 to approve its health care reform bill (HR 3200
) after rejecting dozens of Republican amendments, including attempts to exclude abortion coverage from the essential benefit package created in the legislation, CQ Today
reports. An amendment offered by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) was rejected in an 18-23 vote; Reps. Bill Pascrell (N.J.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) and John Tanner (Tenn.) were the only Democrats to support the amendment. The amendment included exceptions for abortion to save the woman's life or in cases of rape or incest. Committee members voted 19-22 to reject a similar amendment by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
The House health reform bill would establish a panel to set a minimum benefits package that health insurers must offer. The bill aims to expand health insurance coverage by mandating that individuals obtain insurance, requiring employers to offer workers coverage or pay a fine, and establishing a health insurance exchange where people could compare and purchase plans. The exchange would include a government-run health insurance option that would compete with private plans (Rubin, CQ Today