As the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up the health reform bill last night, "a series of amendments on both sides of the abortion debate [added] a political charge -- and a distraction -- to the progress of the legislation," Politico reports (Smith, 7/30).
The New York Times: "The ... Committee also voted to allow health plans to cover or not cover abortion, as they see fit, but stipulated that insurers must use money from private sources to pay for any abortions. By a vote of 30 to 28, the committee approved an amendment setting forth abortion policy. The proposal, offered by Representative Lois Capps, Democrat of California, was supported by most Democrats and opposed by Republicans" (Herszenhorn and Pear, 7/30).
End-of-life care has also emerged as a controversial – and potentially distracting – social issue in the health care debate. "When Representative Virginia Foxx [R—N.C.] promoted proposed Republican health-care legislation July 28 by proclaiming it was 'pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government,' it stoked a small but passionate fire already burning over a seemingly obscure provision of a House health-care proposal that, proponents say, would help seniors make educated end-of-life plans but, to some, is an opening wedge into something more sinister," BusinessWeek reports, adding: "In the conservative blogosphere, there's a short distance between end-of-life planning and counseling euthanasia" (Reisner, 7/30).