Congressman rejects SPHHS study on abortion amendment

The author of the controversial amendment to the House of Representatives-approved health care bill is rejecting the findings of a Nov. 16 report authored by five GW professors in the School of Public Health and Health Services.

The study found that the Stupak-Pitts amendment – which is designed to restrict how abortions could be offered by a government-run insurance plan and through private insurance bought using government subsidies from the health care plan – would eliminate insurance coverage for medically indicated abortions in the long run, and not just those covered by the new health care plan.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., told the political blog Talking Points Memo D.C. that the report is based on speculation and the amendment would not limit private health insurance companies from offering medically indicated abortions.

“The idea that insurers will stop providing abortion services because of the Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts amendment is nothing more than speculation,” Stupak said in a statement to TPMDC. “There is no language in this amendment that in any way prohibits private health insurance companies from offering these services.”

The report, written by chair of the Department of Health Policy Sara Rosenbaum, research professors Lara Cartwright-Smith and Ross Margulies, professor Susan Wood, and lead researcher D. Richard Mauery, said if the amendment passes, there will be an “industry-wide effect.”

“The treatment exclusions required under the Stupak-Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange.”

Stupak’s remarks came only days after U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., vice chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, referenced the GW study in her blog.

Democrats in the Senate won a key victory in the health care fight Saturday night when the legislative body voted 60-39 to move ahead with floor debate on the sweeping $848 billion bill.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.