A coalition of pro-life groups and members of Congress gathered today on Capitol Hill to demand a Senate vote on a House bill that would stop the massive taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamaca.
The call for a vote comes on the heels of a new nonpartisan GAO report showing Obamacare is the biggest expansion of abortion funding since Roe v. Wade.
Despite a promise President Obama made to lawmakers and the American public in a special joint session of Congress on healthcare reform that, “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion,” a new report released by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows well over 1,000 health care plans under Obamacare pay for abortions with taxpayer money.
“The American people don’t like being lied to!” Congressman Chris Smith told media gathered for the press conference.
The House of Representatives has passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), which would apply the traditional Hyde Amendment policy to all federal programs, including the Obamacare premium-subsidy program. But pro-abortion Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to schedule a vote on it.
“Congress should change ObamaCare to provide transparency and remove abortion funding so when individuals buy exchange plans beginning November 15th, they can actually make an informed decision,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council. “There have been many broken promises associated with ObamaCare. This is one broken promise that we cannot let go. The Senate must pass H.R. 7/S. 946 the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).”
National Right to Life Legislative Director Douglas Johnson says it is “no surprise” that Obamacare funds abortions and he called on pro-life voters to hold lawmakers accountable in November.
“Those really responsible for this scandal are the lawmakers, such as Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Mark Udall of Colorado, who voted against the pro-life amendment that would have prevented this massive federal funding of abortion-covering plans, as well as those who voted to enact the bill after the amendment was rejected, such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas,” he said.
The GAO report focused mainly on determining the prevalence of elective abortion coverage in health plans sold on the exchanges, in the 27 states plus D.C. that currently do not have laws in effect that restrict abortion coverage. The GAO found that on these 28 exchanges, 1,036 plans cover elective abortion while 1,062 do not. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that between 2015 and 2024, $726 billion will flow from the federal Treasury in direct subsidies for Obamacare health plans.
The Obamacare law was enacted in early 2010 despite objections from pro-life forces that it contained provisions that would result in massive federal subsidies to help scores of millions of Americans buy health plans that cover elective abortion. However, President Obama repeatedly insisted that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”
Johnson said these massive subsidies for abortion-covering plans amount to a sharp break from decades of federal policy under the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment says that no federal funds “shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion,” but the Hyde Amendment does not apply to the Obamacare law. Attempts to include Hyde-like language in the Obamacare law were initially successful in the House but were ultimately blocked by President Obama and his allies in Congress.
According to Johnson, the author of so-called “compromise” language that paved the way for enactment of the law, then-Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska), said in 2009 that “you have to write two checks: one for the basic policy and one for the additional coverage for abortion. The latter has to be entirely from personal funds.”
He said the Nelson “two check” system, previously given great credence by some journalistic “factcheckers,” turns out to be not merely a flimsy gimmick, but a vanished mirage. Although the GAO confirmed that the law requires “issuers to collect from each enrollee in a QHP [Qualified Health Plan] covering non-excepted [elective] abortion services a separate payment for coverage of these services,” the Obama Administration is not enforcing such a requirement. Not a single one of the 18 insurance companies that are selling abortion-covering plans, and that responded to the GAO, actually were collecting a separate payment from enrollees for elective abortion coverage.
According to National Right to Life, despite assurances that there would be plans available in each state that do not fund elective abortions, the GAO found that in five states – Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont – every insurance plan currently sold on the exchange covers elective abortion. In addition, abortion-covering plans dominated the exchanges in California (96% cover elective abortion, 86 plans out of 90), Massachusetts (98%, 109 plans of 111), New York (95%, 405 plans of 426), and Oregon (90%, 92 plans of 102).