(H.R. 4872) Legislation making changes to a major health care bill, including delaying the implementation of a tax on high-cost health insurance plans until 2018 -- On a "motion to recommit with instructions," or amendment to require tighter restrictions on insurance companies' coverage of abortion
This was a vote on a "motion to recommit with instructions" amending a bill making a number of changes to Senate-passed health care legislation. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's last chance to make substantive changes to a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. If successful, the motion sends the legislation back to committee with instructions to amend the legislation as specified.
This amendment, offered by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), would have prohibited health insurers from selling government-subsidized coverage to uninsured individuals if the insurance plans cover abortion. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) had offered an amendment to the original House-passed health care bill containing this language. His amendment passed, and thus these restrictions on abortion coverage were included in the House bill. The Senate health bill, meanwhile, had less stringent abortion language -- it required women receiving subsidized health coverage to make a separate payment for abortion services to ensure they were not reimbursed for those services with taxpayer money.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) urged the House to pass his motion to recommit: "The motion to recommit offers us a chance to fix the most egregious defect, allowing taxpayer funds to subsidize abortions…. There is no bargaining or dealmaking when it comes to the life of the unborn. A life is a life. And it is the responsibility of this House to defend these children. When this measure was last before the House, it passed overwhelmingly, 240-194. It should do so again."
Stupak -- the original author of this language -- led the opposition to it, denouncing the amendment as a cynical attempt to kill health care reform efforts: "The motion to recommit purports to be a right-to-life motion, in the spirit of the Stupak amendment. But as the author of the Stupak amendment, this motion is nothing more than an opportunity to continue to deny 32 million Americans health care. The motion is really a last-ditch effort of 98 years of denying Americans health care…. For the Republicans to now claim that we send the bill back to committee under the guise of protecting life is disingenuous. This motion is really to politicize life, not prioritize life. We stand for the American people. We stand up for life."
The House rejected the motion to recommit by a vote of 199-232. All 178 Republicans and 21 Democrats voted "yea." 232 Democrats -- including all of the most progressive members -- voted "nay." As a result, the House did not include language in health care reform legislation prohibiting health insurers from selling government-subsidized coverage to uninsured individuals if the insurance plans separately cover abortion.