If health care doesn't make it through congress, you can probably blame/thank (depending on your point of view) Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) for voting against it and potentially taking a dozen other Democrats with him. Stupak and his like minded cohort are hung up on the issue of abortion. Specifically, government funding for abortion.
Follow along: if the government subsidizes your health care, and your health care provider subsidizes abortions, and somebody with that same health care provider gets an abortion, than the government paid for an abortion. Got it?
Stupak wants to make any health care provider that provides coverage for abortions ineligible for subsidy payments. This means that anybody who gets government subsidies (read: poor people) will not have their abortions covered by their insurance.
Complicated, right? Issues of abortion and poverty and government policy all wrapped up in one distasteful political mess. Allow me to make it more complicated for you by asking this question: what is the cost of an abortion, anyway?
Here's the dirty little secret of the insurance industry (okay, well, not THE dirty little secret, one of probably countless dirty little secrets, each one filthier and more vile than the last, but whatever): its cheaper
to pay for an abortion than for a delivery. And its not even close. A first trimester abortion costs ten times less than an actual baby.
There's a concept in financing called capital offset, where the cost of an upgrade is not compared against spending zero dollars, but instead is compared against some minimum amount you have to spend anyway. If you have a house, you aren't necessarily going to run out a buy a new water heater because the one you have is inefficient. However, if the water heater explodes, you have to buy one anyway, so now you can look at the cost of the cheapest available water heater as a capital offset towards the purchase of a new one.
Well, once you get pregnant, should the cost of an abortion be compared against zero? Or is your water heater already broken? That baby is coming out one way or the other. What does it mean to "pay" for an abortion when abortions cost less than the alternative?