The concern pro-life organizations had about the ObamaCare legislation funding abortions remains years after that bill became law.
Obamacare permits government subsidies to fund insurance plans that cover abortion. Section 1303 is the section of Obamacare that created abortion accounting requirements for insurance plans sold on the exchanges. Specifically, Section 1303 requires insurers to “collect from each enrollee in the plan” a “separate payment,” to be deposited into “a separate account” to pay for elective abortions covered by the insurance plans. However, the provisions of Section 1303 have not been enforced.
But a group of pro-life members of Congress want something done about it.
Today Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and 101 other Members of Congress sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting new regulations to enforce the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that insurers participating in the ACA marketplace must collect a separate payment, or “abortion surcharge” if the plan covers elective abortion. Current regulations permit insurance companies to essentially hide the abortion surcharge from consumers.
In 2009, President Obama told Congress that the ACA would not pay for abortion. Sadly, that promise was broken. Research by ObamacareAbortion.com has shown that, for 2018, roughly half of the plans sold on the ACA marketplace cover abortion on demand.
“Obamacare’s abortion surcharge is practically invisible to consumers,” said Smith, chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “Consumers have a right to know. Abortion is not healthcare—it dismembers and chemically poisons defenseless unborn children and hurts women.”
“The Trump Administration now has the opportunity to take action and enforce the law to bring transparency to Obamacare’s abortion coverage and the abortion surcharge. No person should have to pay for abortion coverage they don’t want,” Smith said.
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Smith letter asks HHS to issue new regulations that align with the clear meaning of Section 1303 and its requirement for a “separate payment” and to provide ample mechanisms for enforcement.
Congressman Smith is the prime sponsor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), which has passed the House of Representatives four times since 2011. This bill creates a government-wide, permanent protection against taxpayer dollars paying for abortion and health insurance plans that include abortion, and would permanently remedy the ACA’s unprecedented expansion of taxpayer funding for abortion coverage.
The House passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (HR 7) in January 2017 by a vote of 238-183. This bill would statutorily remedy the severe problems with Obamacare in regard to abortion coverage. The Senate has not taken up this bill.