Elizabeth Warren joined Rachel Maddow to expose the fact that the GOP’s attack on contraception is the first step in gutting the entire health insurance system.
Here is the video from MSNBC:
MADDOW: Jim from New England Cable News there was essentially characterizing your position on this issue to Senator Brown. Let me ask you in your own words, what you think Senate Republicans including Scott Brown are trying to do on this contraception issue right now.
WARREN: Let’s just start with what the statute says. The statute says that in effect any employer or any insurance company can decide that it has a personal moral objection to providing any kind of health care coverage for anyone and therefore they’re not going to do it. So if your employer says, you know, I don’t like that vaccine thing, I’m just going to have an insurance policy that doesn’t cover it for your children or I don’t like the fact that having cardiovascular disease because you didn’t exercise enough or eat the right foods when you were growing up so I’m just going to exempt all of that from my health insurance policy and I’m going to exempt this and this other thing and what we’ve got left may be not much but that’s just too bad. You’re out there on your own now.
MADDOW: Do you think that this is not so much a contraception issue as it is an effort to undermine the health insurance system or at least to undermine national health reform?
WARREN: Just look at the words. They start off with religious and then they add any moral objection by the employer or by the insurance company, which, you know, is pretty broad and then it is for any kind of coverage for any kind of person. So in effect this is a kind of — the employer designs the health insurance system or the insurance company does it and of course I’m sure there’s no employer or health insurance company that would decide they just have a moral objection to covering expensive things or costly things but that’s certainly what this is an open invitation for. I mean, really when you read the language, it’s just stunning.
MADDOW: There is state level regulation in Massachusetts that is essentially the same as the Obama administration now holds that contraception must be covered in prescription drug coverage. There’s a exemption for religious affiliated employers. Senator Brown, as a state senator, voted for that in Massachusetts. That’s a situation that a lot of critics of the Obama administration are in including people like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and a lot of people who have supported these things in the past but are suddenly offended by this policy now. What do you make of that turnaround?
WARREN: You know, look, this is just a cold political calculation that they can appeal to the employers and the insurance companies who might not want to spend money and at the same time try to stir up some kind of misinformation among people of good faith, religious people, by calling this an attack on religion. You know, I think this is why people really hate politics. This isn’t about trying to find a solution. President Obama found a solution. He found a place where people of conviction were not going to be put in a position of supporting health care coverage that covered something that they had a religious objection to, and at the same time making sure everyone stayed covered including that women stayed covered for basic health care services. There was — there is a solution on the table. This problem is solved. but if you really frame the problem as we want red meat politics, then that’s what the Blunt Amendment is about and that’s what this stirring around and trying to call this an attack on religion and really trying to slip in something like the Blunt Amendment that says how about a direct attack on what kind of care people may really need.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see exactly what Elizabeth Warren described. By broadening the language beyond religious institutions, the Blunt Amendment is a stealthy attempt at gutting the employer based health insurance system. Republicans claim not to want the government standing between you or doctor, but they are just fine with your boss determining whether your diabetes medication, cancer treatment, or heart surgery is covered by your insurance.
Employers would love to only have to provide employees with the cheapest bare bones health care plans possible. Many people would argue that this is exactly what employers are already doing. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture what would happen to the healthcare system if the Blunt Amendment became law. Insurance coverage would vary from employer to employer, and employees could be left to die depending on whether or not an employer had a “moral objection” to the needed treatment.
It’s Dickensian, and unbelievable that a major political party would even propose such an amendment. Luckily we won’t have to worry about the Blunt Amendment ever passing the Senate, and if it did there is no way that President Obama would sign a piece of legislation that undid his own healthcare reform. In case any men out there weren’t getting it, Elizabeth Warren made the issue crystal clear. This isn’t just about contraception. Birth control is the first step in undoing our entire health insurance system.
Elizabeth Warren is one of the many leaders who are standing up and saying no to this attack on healthcare, and the American people need to stand with them until this latest Koch inspired threat has been vanquished.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association