March 16, 2012 Print

Final Rule Reflects Abortion Surcharge in ObamaCare

by Karla Dial

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week issued a final rule concerning the new federal health care law, showing that not only must insurance plans partaking in federal “exchanges” charge all customers for abortion coverage, but they also have to keep it secret.

Under the rule, PL 111-148, insurance companies that want access to federally subsidized clients must charge all their customers at least $1 per month, which will be directed to an allocation fund. The language, however, does not specify a maximum amount, meaning the actual monthly surcharges could be much higher.

The rule also states that insurance companies can’t include that information in any marketing or promotional materials; it can only be disclosed “as a part of the summary of benefits and coverage explanation, at the time of enrollment.”

This is exactly what conservative lawmakers and pro-life watchdog groups have been warning the public about since ObamaCare was first introduced in 2009, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

“The mass deception of the Obama 2010 executive order has finally been exposed,” he said, noting that the rule was filed while Congress was in recess. “This secrecy clause requires insurance companies to bury the abortion surcharge so Americans shopping for an insurance plan on the exchange won’t know about it until they sign up for coverage —  and even then they could easily miss the fine print.”

The rule does not include any limitations on reasons abortions could be sought, or how far along in a pregnancy they could take place.

The only means to avoid being forced to pay for abortions is for state governments to enact laws explicitly banning abortion coverage in insurance plans. So far, 15 states — Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia — have done so.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed three bills last year to rid the health care law of this stipulation: H.R. 2, seeking to repeal ObamaCare altogether, passed on a 245-189 vote before the Senate killed it 47-53. H.R. 3, seeking to ban taxpayer funding of abortions, passed 251-175, and H.R. 358 passed 251-172. The White House has threatened to veto both of the latter, and the Senate has taken no action on either.

“There is no abortion surcharge and there is no secrecy clause in the Hyde amendment,” said Smith, referring to a longstanding federal preventing taxpayer funding of abortion. “But President Obama refused to apply the same policy to ObamaCare.

“ObamaCare should do (preborn children) no harm,” he concluded. “Tragically, it does the worst harm of all. It kills children and makes others complicit in abortion.”

Read PL 111-148.