From Sharon Lerner and The Nation:
None of the bills emerging from the House and Senate require insurers to cover all the elements of a standard gynecological "well visit," leaving essential care such as pelvic exams, domestic violence screening, counseling about sexually transmitted diseases, and, perhaps most startlingly, the provision of birth control off the list of basic benefits all insurers must cover. Nor are these services protected from "cost sharing," which means that, depending on what's in the bill that emerges from the Senate, and, later, the contents of a final bill, women could wind up having to pay for some of these services out of their own pockets. So far, mammograms and Pap tests are covered in every version of the legislation...
...The fault for the initial omission can be laid at the feet of Democrats, who shied away from the issue, not wanting to invite controversy, according to women's health advocates who tried unsuccessfully to get women's preventive health care included in the basic benefits package. Some of the concern had to do with cost. Adding any required service to the basic benefits package would mean the Congressional Budget Office would give the bill a higher score, or price tag, leaving it more vulnerable to attack by budget hawks. But another part of the problem clearly stems from the fact that women's bodies have become political lightening rods, even when abortion is not the issue.
Consider what happened when the subject of women's preventive healthcare services came up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) in July, after the minimum benefits package had already been determined. Because some essential care for women wasn't included in the list, HELP committee member Senator Barbara Mikulski proposed an amendment that would require the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to stipulate that basic women's health services would be covered. The language said nothing about abortion, referring only to "preventive care and screenings."
Yet the voting on the amendment went exactly along pro- and anti-choice lines...
From Ezra Klein:
as Rep. Jim Cooper points out in the interview below, the biggest federal subsidy for private insurance coverage is untouched by Stupak's amendment. It's the $250 billion the government spends each year making employer-sponsored health-care insurance tax-free.
That money, however, subsidizes the insurance of 157 million Americans, many of them quite affluent. Imagine if Stupak had attempted to expand his amendment to their coverage.
From Salon's Frances Kissling:
We started down this road in 1976 when the Hyde Amendment passed and when, in 1980, the Supreme Court upheld the principle that the federal government had the right to enact policies that favored childbirth over abortion by restricting funding for abortion. Most Democrats saw that giving antiabortion taxpayers greater moral standing than women who choose abortion was a political power play. After all, taxpayers don't get any other say in how their taxes are used. Pacifists' dollars support war; anti-bailout Americans saw their taxes go to banks just this year. Except on the issue of abortion, if you want to be a tax resister, the only thing to do is not pay your taxes and go to jail.
And Chris Hayes:
I vote for the Democratic candidate in elections typically because there are two or three parties, and the Dems are generally the ones who profess to be the best on the issues that I care about. And some of those issues selfishly (though not wrongly) are ones I care about because they directly relate to my status as a woman. But part of that means I expect the party I vote for to not use women and their needs as a bargaining chip with those people I didn't vote for. Part of that means I expect the party I donate to, the party I defend, the party I vote for, the party I am a part of to put some friggin' fight into keeping what will directly help women. As Chris Hayes says, "It is very hard to say 'Trust us' right now, after this has happened."
I understand that the healthcare bill, as it stands now, does a lot of good. Ann at Feministing has a nice list going (which I only noticed because Emily covered it). But as it stands, I want a party who will vociferously go to battle instead of what I've got, which is a party that will compromise on the rights I hold dear and then tell me to trust them, that it will all be okay in the end - and then hold Roe over my head like an ax ready to chop when they want my vote or my money when they've already done plenty on their own to gut it.