Pro-life Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said the abortion language in the Senate healthcare bill is only one of several factors she's weighing in considering her vote.
"It is of equal importance to all the others," said Kaptur. "They're all important to me."
Kaptur was part of the group of pro-life Democrats who voted for the House bill only after it included language restricting any public funds disbursed under the measure from being used for abortions. While Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the sponsor of that abortion restriction, has said he will oppose the Senate bill when it comes to the House floor, Kaptur has not made a similar commitment.
"I am in the center of this," she said of the abortion issue. "I am not in the extreme wings in either camp. I'm saying, let's not change existing law."
Kaptur said she wants to see how the Senate bill and the fixes made to it affect whether small businesses can afford to cover their employees.
Kaptur said she wants to see how much aid small businesses get. The healthcare bill includes tax credits to help small businesses fulfill a requirement that they provide health insurance to their employees.
Kaptur also said she wants to gauge the effectiveness of the health insurance exchange created in the bill through which small businesses can compare and purchase health coverage for employees. The House bill created one national exchange, while the Senate bill calls for different exchanges in each state. House members have argued that a national exchange would foster more competition between health insurers, thereby driving down costs.
"I'm still working to try to strengthen what may be produced by the Rules Committee, you know, once amendments are taken," Kaptur said. "So there are sections of it that really matter to me."
She said she has received calls from "several" Obama administration Cabinet secretaries who have urged her to vote for the bill.
Kaptur also suggested she has heard from many of Obama's supporters but said her vote will depend only on what's in the bill.
"They shouldn't waste their time with burdening members offices with a crescendo of phone calls," she said. "What we need is work on the