- (Photo: AP Images / Evan Vucci)
The U.S. Congress reconvenes Tuesday, following its monthlong recess, with the debate over a national health care overhaul dominating its agenda.
While lawmakers will also work on other pressing issues, the issue of health care has been a major fixture in America with main opponents standing against the idea of a government “takeover” and supporters highlighting the need to help the millions who cannot afford health care.
“The teaching of Jesus to care for the least is a moral teaching for all of humanity,” commented Valerie Elverton Dixon, an independent scholar who publishes lectures and essays at JustPeaceTheory.com.
“When we see people in our country who do not have access to basic health care because they lack insurance, when we see even those who have insurance now living with the reality that they could lose coverage at the whim of their employer or if they lose their jobs, it is a moral imperative for us to urge our leaders to join most of the rest of the world and recognize health care as a human right and the obligation of governments to provide access to health care for all of their citizens,” she wrote in a piece published on the blog of the progressive organization Sojourners.
While conservatives acknowledge that there are problems in the current health care system, they believe a government takeover of the health care system is not the solution. Furthermore, they say the current health care legislation has loopholes that will fund abortion without explicitly mentioning the procedure.
"[T]he current proposed nationalized healthcare will subsidize and therefore increase abortion, killing millions more unborn children," commented Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America and a member of the Stop The Abortion Mandate (STAM) movement.
Despite reassurances from President Obama, White House officials, and many Democratic leaders that the health care bill will not pay for abortions with federal tax dollars, pro-life groups maintain that a growing number of independent fact check reports have concluded that the current bill’s federal plan would cover all abortions.
Factcheck.org, a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, confirmed last month that the bill backed by the White House (H.R. 3200), as it stands now, "would allow both a 'public plan' and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions.”
“Therefore, we judge that the president goes too far when he calls the statements that government would be funding abortions 'fabrications,'" concluded Factcheck.org director Brooks Jackson.
In light of this and similar reports, conservatives want the Democratic-majority Congress to accept an amendment that specifically prevents federal funding of abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Congress, however, has so far rejected proposals for such an amendment.
This coming Wednesday, President Obama will deliver a major address on the reform package that is expected to offer more details while making the case for the urgency of health care reform.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told ABC's "This Week" program that after the address, lawmakers and the public will know "exactly where the president stands [and] exactly what he thinks we have to do to get health care reform this year.”
“And he intends to do it," Gibbs added.
Currently, Obama's top domestic priority is revamping the nation's health care system.