Federal law under the Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or threats to the life of the mother. President Barack Obama promised in March 2010 that the Affordable Care Act policies would adhere to the Hyde Amendment.
But the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed taxpayer funding is likely subsidizing elective abortions. The report evaluated the 27 states and Washington, D.C., that do not restrict elective abortion coverage in their insurance markets. It found that 1,036 of the 2,098 subsidized plans in those states cover elective abortions. The 18 evaluated insurers offered a quarter of those policies. Although the GAO report didn’t specify that taxpayer money funded abortions under Obamacare, it raised serious concerns.
“Americans throughout the country have raised serious concerns that they find it nearly impossible to determine whether the plan they purchase finances the killing of unborn children—there is little or no transparency—hence the request by several members of Congress including [House Speaker John] Boehner that GAO investigate,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, who also co-chairs the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
“Now we know that at least 1,036 plans cover abortion, and the so-called ‘surcharge’ for abortion coverage is simply an accounting gimmick,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America.
The Health and Human Services Department acknowledged in a written response that “additional clarification may be needed” regarding the healthcare law’s abortion coverage.
In response, pro-lifers have called for the passage of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” authored by Smith. The House of Representatives passed the bill in January, but it met opposition in the Senate.
Mary Harned, Staff Counsel, Americans United for Life (AUL): (from her NRO commentary): “Given the Affordable Care Act's extensive list of shortcomings and controversies, the GAO report may elicit little more than a yawn from the media. Yet, the report is stunning in that it documents how the Obama administration has abandoned and even undermined the very promises that enabled the healthcare legislation to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.
“When objections to taxpayer funding for abortion or abortion coverage nearly brought down the bill, it took an eleventh hour ‘compromise’ — statutory language provided by Senator Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) and a promised executive order — to save the ACA. Now, over four years later, the GAO report confirms that the abortion deal was effectively meaningless.
“The language in the law is unambiguous — ‘separate payments’ are required. Yet, insurance issuers are not collecting separate payments. In fact, the Obama administration is telling issuers that they do not need to collect two checks.
“States that do not require these ‘segregation plans’ cannot know if and how much taxpayer funding is being used to pay for abortions. Insurance issuers who are not collecting separate payments or even itemizing abortion premiums are not likely to be keeping abortions premiums separate from federal funds.
“So, abortions are being paid for out of federally subsidized premiums. That is taxpayer funding for abortion.”
GAO report. (To see which plans cover abortion, click on "Abortion Services Interactive Map.")