Two Senate Democrats and eight Republicans have finalized an amendment mirroring a House-approved measure to limit health insurers' ability to cover abortion services under a reformed healthcare system.
Amendment to limit abortion coverage offered
The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), seeks to create a firewall between federal dollars and the insurance companies that cover abortion services, except in certain instances. Under the provision, women who buy their coverage in a newly created insurance exchange would have to pay out-of-pocket for supplemental coverage for plans offering abortion services.
A critic of the Senate's health reform bill, Nelson has been courted hard by his party's leaders in need of all their members to vote in lockstep for the legislation. Nelson, however, has said that he would not vote for the bill unless his amendment is accepted.
A vote on the amendment is expected Tuesday.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said she thinks the measure won't pass. “I truly believe that the votes are there in order to stop it in the Senate,” she said, adding, “I believe it goes too far.”
The amendment is similar to one offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and passed on a 240-194 vote. Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana and also signed on the amendment.
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