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The Stupak Deal

March 21, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Bart Stupak [D, MI-1], the pro-life Democrat who has elevated himself to the level of health care reform gatekeeper by withholding his vote and those of his acolytes over concerns with the bill’s abortion language, has struck a deal with the Democrats and will now vote “yes.” Stupak’s vote basically assures that the bill will pass today.

The deal is that President Obama has promised to issue an executive order stating that the law’s current restriction on federal funds being used for elective abortions will be upheld as the health care bill is implemented. The full executive order that Obama will issue can be read at TPM.

The executive order does basically three things:

  • Restates that no federal funds can be used to fund elective abortions, and that no health care provider can be discriminated against by the law because they don’t provide abortions services.
  • Clarifies the procedures for ensuring that privately-paid funds for buying abortion coverage are segregated from any federally-paid subsidies for buying all other health services.
  • Clarifies that the restriction against federal funds for abortions is extended to funds appropriated for Community Health Centers.

You can read all about the health care bill’s restrictions on federal funds for abortion at this blog post.

Igor Volsky at Wonk Room notes that today’s Stupak deal represents a sort of walking back of Stupak’s previous statements that segregating funds was not good enough, even if executed perfectly, because, money is fungible.

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