Women's Health Care and Medicare for All: No Deal Without Abortion Coverage
Abortion is one of the ten most common medical procedures performed in the United States. There are more abortions each year than blood transfusions or knee replacements. It’s high time we started treating abortion without the usual taboos and with the respect, dignity and deference it and the women who choose it deserve.
Today, March 10, is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. In preparation, I have been conducting some interviews that I plan on publicizing throughout the month.
My first conversations were with Marva Sadler, the Clinical Director of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance in Texas, and Nikki Madsen, Executive Director of the Abortion Care Network. We had a wide range of topics of discussion, but today, I am publishing what both women told me when I asked them about the push for Medicare for All. Asked whether a single payer plan would be acceptable without coverage for abortion, both said an unequivocal no.
As you can hear me say at the end of this clip, I agree. We cannot accept any plan that compromises away medical care for women, specifically abortion care. Today in many states abortion is paid for privately and through charitable funding as those states ban the use of Medicaid money to pay for abortions, and some states, like Texas, even bans insurance companies in the state from covering abortion. The government has no business practicing medicine.
The newest Medicare for All plan, unveiled by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, does cover abortion. However, Congress has, for decades, attached riders to all federal funding bills barring federal dollars from paying for abortions. This is known as the Hyde amendment.
If and when Democrats are in a position of power to make changes to health care again, abortion funding is likely to become a contentious issue. Already, a few grassroots folks who back Bernie Sanders’ presidential ambitions have told me that they want single payer health care, and abortion funding is not that important, that it would be worth trading away coverage for abortion in order to eliminate insurance companies.
We disagree. We want every Democratic candidate running for president to pledge that they will veto any single payer bill that does not cover abortions.
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