The GOP is doing its darndest to quickly move on from an embarrassing revelation -- that even as congressional Republicans insist that the health care overhaul does not cover abortions, the national party's own health plan covers elective procedures.
Late Thursday night, the Republican National Committee acknowledged that its health plan, as far back as 1991, included some coverage for elective abortion. Chairman Michael Steele instructed the RNC's director of administration to opt out of any coverage for elective abortion services in its health insurance policy, the party said.
"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose. I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled," Steele said in a statement.
The situation was first reported by Thursday by Politico, which cited two sales agents for Cigna who said that the RNC's policy covered elective abortion and that the RNC didn't opt out of abortion coverage when given the opportunity.
Abortion has emerged as a key issue in the health care debate after the bill approved by the House last weekend included a provision that would ban a new government-run public insurance plan from offering coverage and that would also bar private insurers that accept federal subsidies from doing so.
Supporters, including Republicans, say the provision preserves the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal money for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother. But opponents say the provision goes far beyond that and would result in many women either being denied coverage or having to pay more.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.