Washington Monthly reports this morning that the RNC, which has provided coverage for abortion care for its employees for over 18 years and was suddenly "caught out" this week, is now proceeding to remove that coverage from its policy.
Hypocrisy? In the Republican Party? Naaah.
debate over financing of abortions — the basis for the offensive
Stupak amendment — is all about money being fungible," writes Steve Benen.
Amy Sullivan explained the problem nicely
recently: "The problem, they say, is that if any insurance plan that
covers abortion is allowed to participate in a public exchange, then
premiums paid to that plan in the form of taxpayer-funded subsidies
help support that abortion coverage even if individual abortion
procedures are paid for out of a separate pool of privately-paid
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But applying this argument can prove problematic. Focus on the
Family, for example, one of the nation’s largest religious right
organizations and a fierce opponent of abortion rights, has health
insurance for its employees through a company that covers "abortion
services." The far-right outfit, by its own standards, indirectly subsidizes abortions.
As Politico reported yesterday, "the RNC — whose platform calls abortion "a fundamental
assault on innocent human life" — gets insurance through Cigna with a
plan that covers elective abortion. The Republicans’ health care
package has been in place since 1991 — thanks, Lee Atwater — meaning
that, by the party’s own argument, it has been indirectly subsidizing
abortions for 18 years."
What makes the whole thing more interesting is that Cigna offers its customers the opportunity to opt out of abortion coverage and….for 18 years…."the RNC did not choose to opt out."
Benen writes that the RNC, not surprisingly, scrambled. By last night, it resolved the issue. Sort of.
The Republican National Committee will no longer offer
employees an insurance plan that covers abortion after POLITICO
reported Thursday that the anti-abortion RNC’s policy has covered the
procedure since 1991.
"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this
purpose," Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "I don’t know
why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my
administration. Consider this issue settled."
Steele has told the committee’s director of administration to opt
out of coverage for elective abortion in the policy it uses from Cigna.
So they’ll take away the rights of their female employees to have coverage for abortion care (ready to switch parties, gals?….oh…no, forgot the other one is also in the process of screwing you…and the rest of us).
Benen argues that you still have the issue of fungibility.
The new RNC
policy, apparently, is to have insurance through Cigna, opting out of
abortion coverage. But let’s not lose sight of the original fungibility
problem — the RNC is taking Republican money and giving it to an
insurance company through premiums. That company will then use its pool
of money to pay for abortion services, not for RNC employees, but for
In other words, the Republican National Committee will still indirectly subsidize abortions, every time it writes a check to Cigna.
And if the RNC disagrees with this reasoning, and believes the issue
is "settled," then the party has rejected the reasoning of the Stupak
amendment at a fundamental level.