UPDATE 11/2/2009 – Edited to correct formatting error in Sec 258.
The US House has released HR 3962, its final version of a health care reform bill.
Despite what you may hear in the anti-reform press and blogosphere, this bill will not force abortions or abortion coverage on anyone. It won’t preempt existing state restrictions on abortion. In fact, there are explicit protections in the bill to prevent this. Here are the relevant provisions:
SEC. 258. APPLICATION OF STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS REGARDING ABORTION.
(a) No Preemption of State Laws Regarding Abortion- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preempt or otherwise have any effect on State laws regarding the prohibition of (or requirement of) coverage, funding, or procedural requirements on abortions, including parental notification or consent for the performance of an abortion on a minor.
(b) No Effect on Federal Laws Regarding Abortion-
(1) IN GENERAL- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to have any effect on Federal laws regarding–
(A) conscience protection
(B) willingness or refusal to provide abortion; and
(C) discrimination on the basis of the willingness or refusal to provide, pay for, cover, or refer for abortion or to provide or participate in training to provide abortion.
SEC. 259. NONDISCRIMINATION ON ABORTION AND RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.
(1) subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination; or
(2) require any health plan created or regulated under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) to subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination,
(b) Definition- In this section, the term ‘health care entity’ includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.
(c) Administration- The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services is designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on this section, and coordinate the investigation of such complaints.
In the coming days I hope to find time to highlight what I think are some very helpful provisions in this bill. But I figured I’d start with the issue I figured would be first in line for the misinformation crowd.