Small Business and Families Beware the Stealth Attack –The Dangerous and Misleading “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”
H.R. 3, also known as the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” is a dangerous and misleading bill that raises taxes and increases costs on millions of individuals and families and threatens to take away coverage for abortion that women already have.
H.R. 3 Would Raise Taxes on Potentially Millions of Individuals and Small Businesses that Keep the Insurance Plans They Currently Have.
Right now, most insurance plans include coverage of abortion. H.R. 3 makes any small business or individual that has a health care plan that includes coverage of abortion ineligible for the small business health tax credit and the premium assistance tax credit, thereby raising taxes on potentially millions of otherwise eligible small business owners and individuals. If this bill were enacted, millions of individuals and small businesses will face significant increased costs just for keeping the comprehensive insurance coverage they currently have. Below are hypothetical examples of the harm that millions of individuals and businesses would face if they keep their abortion coverage:
The Small Business Health Tax Credit is worth up to 35 percent of an eligible small business’s premium costs in 2010 and will be worth up to 50 percent in 2014. Right now, a restaurant with forty half-time employees, wages totaling $500,000, and $240,000 per year in health care costs will be eligible for the credit. If the restaurant’s health insurance plan includes coverage of abortion, H.R. 3 would increase the restaurant’s taxes by $28,000.
A single mother with two young children struggled to find insurance coverage in the individual market. Because the family earned just $24,000 per year and was not offered health insurance through her employer, the family would be eligible in 2014 to buy health insurance through an Exchange and would be eligible for a premium assistance tax credit to help defray its cost. If the family’s health insurance plan includes coverage of abortion, H.R. 3 would cost a single mother earning $24,000 per year $3,173 in premium assistance.
There is more background at the link above and here. It is already against the law to use tax payer funds for abortions. Republicans are trying to make so that in a private contract situation between a business and their insurer or an individual and their insurer, the business or individual has to pay a penalty enforced by the Big Ass Government, conservatives say should stay out of people’s lives. The examples above apply to the particulars, but the general legal and constitutional principles they are using to justify their intrusion into personal health decisions is just as damning. Some women who seek abortions use public roads to get to their doctor. Using the same principle as H.R. 3 we should stop funding roads with tax dollars, for goodness sake women will use those roads to exercise their constitutional right to privacy according to Roe v Wade. Again using the same bizarre rationales conservatives could stop the sale of home pregnancy tests or any other tests upon which individuals might make health decisions. Condoms and diaphragms could be legally considered a threat to potential human life – thus if medical benefits are used to pay for any part of that expense small business and individuals could be liable for an extra tax. Maybe if women started incorporating their uterus’s in the Cayman Islands right-wing groups might see women as having the same rights they feel corporations have and spend billions over the next fifty years protecting those rights.
Claiming Osama bin Laden’s death as a platform, conservatives are performing almost-Olympian gymnastics to legitimize President George W. Bush’s torture program. A cadre of Bush torture apologists are beating the drum hard, exulting in the alleged role that waterboarding of detainees like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed played in garnering the courier name that brought down bin Laden. Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld backflipped on his “there was no waterboarding” statement to realign himself within this camp. House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY) flatly stated, “Those who say waterboarding doesn’t work, who say it it should be stopped and never be used, we got vital information which directly led us to bin Laden.”
Naturally, the facts should support the assertion. We know that Mohammed was waterboarded, and we know he provided information. The question is whether we can connect the two. As of now, we can’t. My colleague at ThinkProgress Marie Diamond details from whom — and how — we got the courier’s name:
In fact, two of the prisoners subjected to the harshest treatment — including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly lied under torture about the critical piece of intel about the courier. Mohammed has been frequently invoked by conservatives in recent days as the paramount example that waterboarding works. Abu Faraj Al-Libbi, another Al Qaeda leader whose usefulness has been cited by conservatives, also misled interrogators about the courier.
The detainee who provided the most important actionable intelligence about the courier, Al Qaeda operative Hassan Ghul, was not waterboarded, and was described by one official as being “quite cooperative.”
If there’s anything to be learned from the intelligence officials involved in this long-standing intelligence operation, it’s just that. It takes a long time. Interrogators first learned of the courier’s existence in 2002. Mohammed was caught in 2003. Jump two years and 183 waterboarding sessions later, and many inside the CIA conclude that “the bin Laden hunt ha[s] grown cold” and now they should “overhaul” their operations. Cue Operation Cannonball — “a bureaucratic reshuffling that placed more C.I.A case officers on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
From that, they learn the courier’s family name. Then, by the often preferred technique of intercepting telephone calls and e-mail messages, they got the courier’s full name. In July 2010, they spot him driving to Abbottabad. May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden is pronounced dead. The killing of bin Laden was a long process, spanning three presidents, two wars, and multiple layers of intelligence gathered over nearly a decade. In that long process, one thing has become clear. Mohammed was waterboarded and nothing “direct” resulted from it.
Most of us know how this works. Facts will bounce off the torture lovers like BBs off a tank. Few people on this little mud ball floating though space are perfectly rational all the time. Republicans have just signed up for full-time turbo charged crazy with the occasional small break.