Leaving no abortion-related stone unturned, the Biden administration is now attempting to change the way abortion coverage is billed in health plans set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Catholic News Agency reports that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing to loosen safeguards that were put in place to ensure that insured individuals are not funding abortion on ACA health exchanges.
“Abortion is not healthcare and taxpayers should not be subsidizing it,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), chair and founder of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, said last week. “This is another move by President Biden and Secretary Becerra to promote their abortion agenda above following the law, and is even more alarming as Democrats look to increase taxpayer subsidies for Obamacare.”
Currently, Section 1303 of the health care law requires that insurance providers collect separate premium payments for those who want abortion coverage, which ensures that federal taxpayer funding doesn’t cover abortion costs. The requirement came under scrutiny in 2014, when it was discovered that many insurance providers were ignoring guidance to separate the premiums, and instead, were lumping them into one monthly payment. This left some consumers paying for abortion services without realizing it. In 2019, the Trump administration changed the process to eliminate any confusion, requiring insurance providers to send two distinct bills to consumers who wished to pay for abortion coverage. That rule, however, was blocked by a federal judge in July 2020.
Under the proposed loosened restrictions, abortion would no longer be billed separately from the rest of healthcare coverage.
“The rule flouts protections against taxpayer funding of abortion by interpreting separate abortion payments to mean combined payments. This is yet another gift to the abortion industry by the Biden administration,” Rachel Morrison, policy analyst with the HHS Accountability Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told CNA.
The attempt to change the ACA policy comes amid an increased threat that the Biden administration will repeal the Hyde Amendment, which has been in place to prohibit most abortions from being funded by federal taxpayer dollars since 1976. Because Hyde’s restrictions are built into the ACA policy, there is concern among pro-lifers that its repeal will also mean an increase in taxpayer-funded abortion within the ACA.
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