Dear Member of Congress:
The National Right to Life Committee, the federation of state right-to-life organizations, urges you to support the issuance of new regulations regarding Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with regards to abortion coverage transparency by signing onto the attached letter from Congressman Chris Smith.
At the time Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, an array of long-established laws, including the Hyde Amendment, had created a nearly uniform policy that federal programs did not pay for abortion or subsidize health plans that included coverage of abortion, with narrow exceptions. Regrettably, provisions of the 2010 Obamacare health law ruptured that longstanding policy. Among other objectionable provisions, the Obamacare law authorized massive federal subsidies to assist many millions of Americans to purchase private health plans that cover abortion on demand. For documentation, please see:
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. In September, 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that confirmed that elective abortion coverage is widespread in federally subsidized plans on the Obamacare exchanges. In the 27 states (plus D.C.) that did not have laws in effect that restrict abortion coverage, over one thousand exchange plans covered abortion, the report found. (See “GAO report confirms elective abortion coverage widespread in Obamacare exchange plans.“)
Some defenders of the Obamacare in 2010 insisted that this was not really “federal funding” of abortion because a provision in 1303 of Obamacare stated that a “separate payment” would be required to cover the costs of the abortion coverage. National Right to Life and other pro-life groups dismissed this as a mere bookkeeping gimmick that sharply departed from the principles of the Hyde Amendment.
In the years since the enactment of the ACA, it became evident that the Obama Administration disregarded the inadequate measure of segregating funds and sharply departed from the principles of the Hyde Amendment. The Obama Administration issued Section 1303 regulations permitting insurance companies to ignore separate payment requirements which included failing to require insurers to disclose the abortion surcharge from consumers. While a statutory fix, such as the House-passed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), is necessary to remedy the severe problems with the ACA in regard to abortion coverage, there are steps the Trump Administration can take to mitigate ACA’s massive expansion of abortion coverage. New regulations surrounding Section 1303 could at least ensure basic transparency is provided to consumers – and inform them when they are paying for abortion coverage they might object to.
The attached letter urges Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to issue new regulations to eliminate secrecy about abortion coverage, allowing consumers to be fully informed about abortion coverage and the surcharges for such coverage on plans sold on the exchanges.
Should you have any questions, please contact us at 202-626-8820, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Popik, J.D.