Abortion and Health Care Reform: Practical Considerations

The task of the House-Senate conference committee on health care reform will not be an easy one. Yes, the legislation passed by each chamber have many provisions in common. But where they tend to differ are on some of the thorniest, most controversial issues. Whether there will be a government-run health plan and how to pay for health care reform are but two of the items needing to be worked through. One issue on which finding common ground will be especially difficult concerns abortions.

Most of the media and blog coverage of the abortion issue (including my own) have focused on the political aspects: will the more restrictive House language survive the conference committee or will the slightly less restrictive Senate version be a part of the final health care reform bill? And will liberals pass health care reform legislation that includes any additional restrictions on the procedure?

The folks at ReportingOnHealth.org, a project of The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships and the USC Annenberg School for Communication, asked a more interesting question: what would the likely compromises concerning abortion coverage currently being considered by lawmakers mean in the real world? How would the compromises work in practice? They invited me to offer a post on the topic and, for those interested, the post is available on their site.

ReportingOnHealth.org is aimed at helping journalists gain a better understanding of health care issues. The result is a host of meaningful insights for the general public as well. It’s a site well worth regularly checking.

Speaking of sites with interesting perspectives and enabling my descent into the world of punditry, there’s also HealthLeaders Media. They consistently offer an objective, reasoned view of the health care reform debate and provide perspectives from varied viewpoints. They are also one of the few news organizations offering regular podcasts on health care reform. My interview with Les Masterson focused on how health care reform might impact the industry.