The House plan draws a clear line of demarcation: No public funded abortions either directly or indirectly.
The Senate plan includes an abortion tax, as outlined in the Washington Times piece below (and corroborated by pro-abortion DHHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius):
On Page 41 (lines 5-8) of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's manager amendment, the proposed rules mandate that everyone buying insurance through new exchanges or through the new government-run plan must pay a monthly abortion premium to be used for elective abortion services. This fee applies "without regard to the enrollee's age, sex or family status."
That means that people who have no possibility of wanting an abortion themselves will pay for others to have them.
On Page 43 (lines 1-7), insurance companies will be required to assess the cost of elective abortion coverage, and on Page 43 (lines 20-22) they are mandated to charge a minimum of at least $1 per enrollee per month to cover abortion.
Recall that on September 9 President Obama told a Joint Session of Congress, "And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up - under our - under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions":
Right... word parsing... That may have been his plan - that no one ever saw.... Before that, on July 21, Obama told CBS's Katie Couric:
Couric: Do you favor a government option that would cover abortions?
Obama: What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. Because I think we're still trying to get a framework. And my main focus is making sure that people have the options of high quality care at the lowest possible price.
As you know, I'm pro choice. But I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care. Rather than wade into that issue at this point, I think that it's appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings, and not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station.
About that comment I wrote on August 27 that Obama wasn't saying what others interpreted him as saying, which was that he opposed public funded abortions. Obama was only quoting history. He did not say he agreed with it.
Furthermore, Obama was clearly indicating a time would come when we would "wade into that issue."
Well, the time has come. According to ABC's Jake Tapper yesterday:
I asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs off-camera after our interview this morning on "This Week" which health reform bill comes closer to President Barack Obama's goal, the House or the Senate version?
I asked President Obama about that last month.
"There needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we're not changing the status quo. And that's the goal," Obama told me in November.
So, does the Senate language come closer to what the president wants than the House language?
Gibbs told me this morning: "Yes."