I’m getting texts from Kay Steiger, who’s at Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’s
HELP Committee hearing. Kay says there hasn’t been any mention of
reproductive health so far; all the testimony and questing has focused
on health care reform. Sen. John McCain has asked Sebelius whether she
would support a tax credit of around $5000 instead of employer-based
insurance (I’m assuming Sebelius said no, but am checking with Kay to confirm!). Sebelius also has now said that she supports a public
option in health care reform.
11:39am: Sen. Chris Dodd has asked about low-weight premature births. In response, Sebelius called for increased prenantal care for "at-risk mothers."
12noon: Sen. Bob Dole testified in favor of Sebelius; he’s now leaving. He shook hands with Dodd and Kennedy before leaving.
12:26pm: Sen. Bernie Sanders brought up his single-payer plan bill, saying "I suspect I’m in the minority." (I don’t know how Sebelius reacted to that). Then reproductive health issues came up: Sen. Tom Coburn wanted reassurance that RU-486, medication abortion, fell under the Hyde Amendment and Medicaid would continue not to cover it.
Sebelius later said that she supports conscience clauses — that the Bush version of the HHS regulation was "overly broad and overly vague" but she supports the underlying principle.