Analysis

New healthcare proposal does not contain pro-life provisions

After the U.S. Senate failed to pass several attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (known as ObamaCare), which would defund Planned Parenthood for one year, a bipartisan bill has emerged.

The healthcare plan comes from Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Alexander has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee while Murray has a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. According to a 2015 list, she was ranked eleventh out of 25 politicians who have received the most money from Planned Parenthood, making it unlikely she would be willing to defund the abortion giant.

Under the plan, states would have more control and flexibility in their exchanges, so long as they were eventually approved by Health & Human Services for having the required amount of coverage, such as for maternity leave and mental health.

According to the Tennessean, Alexander believes “the prospects are good” and said that “the way you keep people from being hurt and avoid chaos is to pass our bill.”  Alexander thinks the legislation stands a good chance of passing because GOP lawmakers understand, he believes, that they need to do something to stabilize the Obamacare markets.

As Politico explained:

The deal would include funding through 2019 for Obamacare’s cost-sharing program. […] It would allow states to use existing Obamacare waivers to approve insurance plans with ‘comparable affordability’ to Obamacare plans, Alexander said. But it would notably not allow states to duck the law’s minimum requirements for what a health insurance plan must cover. […]

It would also allow consumers over age 30 to buy catastrophic health insurance plans — dubbed “copper” plans — as well as $106 million in funding to support Obamacare enrollment, according to Senate aides familiar with the plan. The new funding would be collected from existing insurance user fees and be used to provide states grants to help people enroll in catastrophic plans.

This new proposal does not contain pro-life provisions, which Murray would be highly unlikely to sign onto, and it would send billions of dollars for insurance companies to cover abortion. Writing for the Federalist, Christopher Jacobs notes that this “would surely represent the second-largest expansion of federal abortion funding, behind only Obamacare itself.”

Pro-lifers have been fighting against ObamaCare for years, both at the judicial and legislative levels, because of its abortion provisions. Why would pro-life representatives now support a proposal which doesn’t accomplish a long-sought-after goal, but rather leaves a dangerous status quo in place?

READ: Doctors testify: Preborn humans respond to pain as early as 8 weeks

Jacobs offered an explanation as to how the new plan, like ObamaCare, would fund abortion, despite the existence of the Hyde Amendment:

If funding flows outside the HHS appropriations measure, those funds would not be subject to the Hyde restrictions, and could therefore subsidize abortion coverage.

Obamacare contained just such funds—for instance, the premium tax credits used to subsidize plans on insurance exchanges. While Obamacare includes a “segregation mechanism” designed to separate the portion of premium payments used to cover abortion, pro-life groups have recognized this mechanism as an accounting gimmick—one the Obama administration didn’t even bother to enforce.

Jacobs furthered explained that Alexander would have to add Hyde Amendment language to the plan in order to ensure abortion isn’t funded. A move that is not likely to happen when a pro-abortion senator, so beholden to the industry, has such a key role in crafting the bill.

As Jacobs noted in a subsequent article, he and Alexander were interviewed by EWTN, during which Alexander admitted he “hadn’t discussed” abortion with his staff. Rather, he appeared content to be “sure the president will address” the issue.

This is cause for concern. And, as Jacob concluded, pro-lifers should “insist on included pro-life language as a necessary (but not necessarily sufficient) requirement for their support of the legislation.”

Not only would abortion coverage continue to be funded under this newly proposed health bill, but so would the nation’s abortion giant. Live Action has been exposing Planned Parenthood not only for misleading and lying to the public, which they continue to do to further their taxpayer-funded political agenda, but also for breaking the law.

A photo of the clinics that outnumber Planned Parenthood 20 to 1.

While Planned Parenthood’s funding and abortions have increased, their touted non-abortion services have decreased. Their facilities are also outnumbered 20 to 1 by community health centers, which provide all the same services besides abortion. It’s not about politics, but rather common sense to fund these centers instead.

President Obama made promises that his healthcare plan would not fund abortions, in order to secure enough votes (the bill passed by one vote, none being Republicans). Pro-lifers were skeptical from the start, however, and it was revealed in a GAO report that ObamaCare does fund abortions.

Pro-lifers have been misled before. We must not let it happen again, especially when voters elected pro-lifers to the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and White House. Trump has not only made pro-life commitments but has reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy denying foreign aid to organizations which commit or perform abortions. He also has signed legislation overturning a last-minute Obama administration rule which prohibited states from defunding Planned Parenthood.

From the start of his campaign, President Trump has vowed to repeal ObamaCare. He also released a list of pro-life commitments towards the end of the campaign, which included defunding Planned Parenthood.

It is not necessarily impossible for there to be a bipartisan healthcare plan, however, pro-lifers have made it their fight for years to repeal and replace the notoriously pro-abortion ObamaCare. The legislation which comes out of this continued fight must reflect such goals and keep President Trump honest with his pro-life promises. Pro-lifers have fought too long and hard to concede now.

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