Feministing has a solid bullet point list of what will actually change thanks to the healthcare overhaul. Two changes that were forgotten in the shouting about abortion: the bill bans higher premiums for women and requires coverage of maternity care.
But it also lets insurance companies charge more for preexisting conditions, including being a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. It also affirms the status quo for abortion coverage, banning federal money from for use on abortion—a decision abortion rights advocates say could lead private insurance to eventually drop abortion coverage, too. The bill also bans undocumented immigrants from buying insurance with their own money.
All in all, Feministing comes away disappointed: "I am so glad that 32 million people who are uninsured will be able to receive care. But abortion is health care. Women who need abortions and undocumented immigrants are just as deserving of basic human rights as anyone else."
Jezebel has a similar reaction to the bill: "In the end, it doesn't reform health care in America as much as it incrementally reforms health insurance regulation in America."
The abortion provisions in the new bill spiraled into near death panel hysteria over the weekend, until President Obama agreed to make an executive order reaffirming the current law banning federal funds for abortion services. Despite that, some crazy people are still repeating that the healthcare bill provides federal funds for abortion services.
The way NPR tells it, it took an elderly Catholic man to talk some sense into the House:
"I will be 81 years old this September. Certainly at this stage of my life I am not going to change my mind and support abortion," Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) said [Sunday afternoon]. "I am not going to jeopardize my eternal salvation. I've sought counsel from my priest, advice from my family, friends and constituents. And I have read the Senate abortion prohibition more than a dozen times. I am convinced that the original prohibition of the Hyde Amendment is in the Senate bill."
So that's the short answer: healthcare reform isn't going to affect an 81-year-old Catholic's eternal salvation, but it will make it just as difficult for poor, female Americans to choose their reproductive care. Hooray?
And now, just because it's ridiculous, a screenshot of Fox News' current homepage including their headlines about healthcare:
- Fox News: Bringing the fear.