Several weeks ago, I visited healthcare.gov in search of pro-life insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act. After spending several frustrating hours on the website, I gained only limited information. For example, I learned that some plans include abortion coverage in the summary of benefits, but more often than not there was no mention of coverage at all. Thus, as a young woman who opposes abortion, I was left in the dark as to whether my hard-earned dollars would pay for abortion.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this morning that confirms my experience and indicates that there is, in fact, no consistent way to determine which plans under Obamacare cover abortion. The report stunningly reveals that in five states, including my home state of New Jersey, there is not one pro-life plan available. In December of 2013, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was asked under oath by Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) about how to determine the plans that cover abortion. She could not answer his question but promised to provide a list, which ultimately did not happen prior to her leaving the Administration. The Secretary also insisted that such information was clearly provided on the healthcare.gov website. A statement, which, from my experience, is blatantly inaccurate.
Pro-life Americans should not have to spend hours reading summaries of benefits, or talking on the phone with insurance companies, in order to know if their health care plan violates their deeply held beliefs. This reality flies in the face of the transparency that was promised by the Obama Administration.
Your taxes are funding abortions
The GAO report has an even more disturbing revelation: taxpayers from all 50 states are subsidizing abortion under Obamacare, despite the fact that President Obama and members of his Administration, promised the contrary. In 2009, referencing the Hyde Amendment, President Obama told America: “This is a health care bill, not an abortion bill. We are not looking to change what is a core principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.” [i]
During the healthcare debate in 2009, pro-abortion forces refused to extend Hyde Amendment type protections to the Affordable Care Act. Every year since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has banned federal funding for abortion under Medicaid, and is one of the most significant pro-life policies since Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973. Rather than extending the these types of protections, Obamacare set up an “abortion surcharge” through which insurance companies would bill individuals separately for abortion coverage, creating a pool of money funded by individuals, not tax dollars, to pay for abortion. This was not only an accounting gimmick, but it was unfair to Americans who would not know that their money was directly paying for abortion. Americans have the right to informed consent for something as critical as their money paying for abortion!
The GAO report further reveals that not one of the eighteen companies surveyed did actually bill separately or itemized an abortion surcharge! In other words, the accounting gimmick put in place is not even being practiced, and through their taxes, Americans in all 50 states are paying for 1,036 of 2,089 plans to cover abortion. Roughly half of the plans available through Obamacare provide abortion on demand!
The Obama Administration’s list of broken promises continues to grow, and the non-partisan GAO report confirms this. This is not the transparency that America was promised. Please, no more broken promises, Mr. President.
[i] “Obama: ‘This is a Health Care Bill, Not an Abortion Bill” Nov 10, 2009,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pFiCPgmgqE