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The Purpose of the Stupak Amendment is to Maintain Existing Law

There have been many recent questions in the press and on Capitol Hill about the scope of the Stupak Amendment added to the House health care reform bill, H.R. 3962, and how it will impact private insurance plans.

The Stupak Amendment applies the same abortion funding restrictions to programs created by and funded through H.R. 3962 that the Hyde Amendment applies to programs funded through the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill (like Medicaid).  Because the government is expanding its role in paying for health care, the two amendments cannot be identical, word-for-word — the abortion funding restriction must be tailored to fit the new programs.  However, the principle behind both the Hyde Amendment and the Stupak Amendment – that federal dollars do not pay for abortions or subsidize insurance plans that cover abortions – is the same.

Regarding the subsidization of private insurance, the Hyde Amendment explicitly provides:  “None of the funds appropriated in this Act, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are appropriated in this Act, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.” The Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) also prohibits participating plans from covering abortion (there are no funding mechanisms to segregate “private” premiums from federal dollars).  The Stupak Amendment continues this existing policy.

To view a side-by-side comparison of the Hyde and Stupak amendments and a memo examining the Stupak Amendment, please see:

http://blog.aul.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Comparision-Chart-b-t-Hyde-and-Stupak.pdf

http://blog.aul.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Stupak-Pitts-Backgrounder.pdf