The Blog

Obama Campaign Won't Say if Health Care Plan Would Cover Abortions

1:09 PM, Oct 6, 2008 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

A new Obama-Biden campaign ad says that, unlike John McCain, "Barack Obama would require insurance companies to cover routine treatments like vaccines and mammograms":

Leaving aside the question of whether or not it's a good idea to mandate coverage for particular procedures, Obama's health care plan goes far beyond requiring coverage for "routine treatments." Following a speech to Planned Parenthood in July 2007, Obama made a controversial pledge to require private insurers to cover abortions. He said:

In my mind reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care, and so it is at the center, the heart of the plan that I propose. …

we're going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don't have health insurance. It'll be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services...

We also will subsidize those who prefer to stay in the private insurance market except the insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care.

Just in case there's any doubt that Obama's reference to "reproductive services" meant that he intends to mandate coverage for abortion, the Chicago Tribune's Mike Dorning reported after the speech:

Asked about his proposal for expanded access to health insurance, Obama said it would cover "reproductive-health services." Contacted afterward, an Obama spokesman said that included abortions.

Obama has not been perfectly clear on his support for the Supreme Court's broadly defined "health exception" that permits third trimester abortions "in the light of all factors--physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age--relevant to the wellbeing of the patient."

So, during a campaign conference call about health care yesterday, I asked Obama-Biden surrogate Gov. Kathleen Sebelius if Obama's health care plan would mandate coverage for all legal abortions.

"I really don't know the specifics of that," she replied. An Obama-Biden spokesman told me via email that he'd find an answer to my question. But subsequent emails and phone calls in the past 24 hours from me to Obama-Biden spokesmen have gone unanswered.

Apparently the Obama-Biden campaign doesn't think it needs to provide basic factual information about their candidate's health care plan. Will any one in the mainstream media hold Obama accountable?