Last week, Representative Chris Smith (R–NJ) introduced a bill that would require qualified health plans offered on Obamacare exchanges to disclose whether the plan includes coverage of elective abortion.
“This is a Right to Know bill,” explained Smith. “Americans have a right to know upfront and with full transparency when they are purchasing a plan that subsidizes the killing of unborn children. Even the most ardent advocate of abortion should embrace full disclosure.”
Under Obamacare, individuals and families who live in states that allow abortion coverage on their exchanges could end up paying directly for coverage of elective abortions, possibly without their knowledge. Individuals who enroll in federally subsidized plans that include coverage of abortion will pay an abortion surcharge of at least $12 per year—but possibly much more. Obamacare requires insurers to then “segregate” those payments into a separate account used solely to pay for elective abortion procedures.
Many individuals and families who would otherwise object to paying for abortion coverage may not even be aware of the surcharge. Insurers are allowed under Obamacare to disclose the existence and amount of the abortion surcharge only at the time of enrollment, and that warning may be as little as a single sentence in a massive plan document.
An ongoing investigation by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) has only confirmed that the limited transparency inherent in the health care law continues to shroud the question of abortion coverage. Even as Obamacare’s glitch-filled exchanges trudge through the third full week of open enrollment, “finding out which plan or plans in a given state does not cover elective abortion is proving to be a nightmare,” explains CLI’s president, Chuck Donovan.
“The Obamacare exchange launch has been an unmitigated disaster,” said Representative Diane Black (R–TN). “Clearly Americans who are pro-life would object to paying for a health care plan that included abortion coverage and then be forced to pay an abortion surcharge into a fund that is meant to be used solely for the purposes of destroying human life.”
The Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, H.R. 3279, would amend Obamacare to require issuers that include elective abortion coverage on exchange plans to prominently display in marketing and enrollment materials the existence of such coverage. It would also require health plans to reveal that enrollees will pay a separate premium, right out of their own pockets, for abortion coverage.
Obamacare also entangles taxpayers in subsidizing overall health plans that include abortion coverage. Because Congress failed to apply Hyde amendment or similar language to the totality of the health care law, Obamacare potentially allows large taxpayer subsidies to flow to exchange health plans that cover elective abortion.
Congress could enact broad and permanent protections against taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion coverage. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, also introduced by Representatives Smith and Dan Lipinski (D–IL), would assure that “no funds authorized or appropriated by federal law” could be used to pay for abortion or health benefits plans that cover abortion.
But to truly protect Americans’ freedom to purchase health care that meets their families’ needs and aligns with their values, Obamacare must be repealed.