Language in the Senate GOP healthcare bill that pertains to defunding abortion giant Planned Parenthood for one year is expected to be in the draft bill, but may be removed before a final vote on the legislation, reports The Hill.
With a goal of passing some form of legislation that claims to repeal Obamacare, the GOP leadership in the Senate may ultimately eliminate the provision to defund Planned Parenthood if the move earns the votes of liberal Republicans.
Fox News reports:
The GOP is worried that any bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare would have to be carefully structured to hold the support of moderate and conservative Republicans. However, the apparent concession by conservatives might give leadership more room to maneuver.
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) have both been committed to funding Planned Parenthood in the past. Collins said if a provision to defund Planned Parenthood is in the Senate bill, she and Murkowski would introduce an amendment to delete it, as they did in 2015.
Recently, Murkowski has said she is “committed” to key features of Obamacare – such as Medicaid expansion and coverage for pre-existing conditions – as well as funding for Planned Parenthood.
She told Politico that she supports funding the abortion vendor “because what that does is it provides greater access for more women, more men and in my state, anything that you do to reduce access is a bad thing.”
Republican plans to defund Planned Parenthood, however, have redirected that funding to other federally qualified health centers and community healthcare facilities that offer more expansive care than Planned Parenthood.
In its own annual report released at the end of May, Planned Parenthood reported increases in abortions, profits, and taxpayer funding, while many of its non-abortion services – including contraception – have shown a marked decrease.
Politico observed two weeks ago that Sen. Marco Rubio – a strong pro-life supporter – said the abortion issues may not be his “focus” at the present time. Rubio said:
I’m always looking for an opportunity to do what’s right on that issue. But that said, I would say that my focus right now is on the broader health care marketplace, getting it fixed. Certainly, if it has that in there, it would be something I’d be supportive of. Whether I condition my vote on it is not something I’m prepared to say.
The Hill states the Senate parliamentarian has also given strong indications that key provisions in the House’s Obamacare repeal bill that would restrict abortion services would be dropped from the Senate bill.
In particular, senators and special interest groups observed that restrictions on tax credits being used for insurance plans that cover abortion would not be permitted in legislation using the reconciliation budgetary procedure.
“I believe that did not pass through the parliamentarian’s review, so I don’t expect that to be in there,” said Collins.