WASHINGTON — A bill newly introduced in the House of Representatives would enable individuals to determine if they are paying a surcharge for abortion under the health-care exchanges available under the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act “requires premium payers to be assessed an abortion surcharge every month to pay for abortions,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said at an Oct. 9 press conference.
“But many pro-life Americans may unwittingly purchase pro-abortion plans because of a marketing secrecy clause,” he added.
Smith continued, saying, “Americans have a right to know upfront and with full transparency when they are purchasing a plan that subsidizes the killing of unborn children. Even the most ardent advocate of abortion should embrace full disclosure.”
The new health-care exchanges opened Oct. 1, allowing individuals to compare and purchase different health-care plans.
Despite assurances from the Obama administration that the Affordable Care Act would not fund abortions, Smith said, some of the federally funded exchange plans include a monthly mandatory abortion surcharge, and there is little information enabling consumers to know exactly which plans include this abortion-funding charge.
The bill to correct this problem, introduced by Smith and co-sponsored by 70 other members of the House, addresses the funding of abortion plans in health-care exchanges and requires the government to fully disclose whether or not each plan on the exchanges covers abortion.
Americans entering the exchanges “shouldn't have to spend hours trying to figure out if the money they pay for premiums will be spent to provide abortions,” said Rep. Dan Lipinski, D- Ill. “This bill will give the American people the transparency they need to make informed decisions that are in line with their religious and moral beliefs."
Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., called the lack of disclosure “troubling,” adding that, for many consumers, it is “unclear as to what exactly will be covered by the plans they purchase online.”
Black called it an issue of concern for pro-life Americans as well as American citizens at large.
“Clearly, Americans who are pro-life would object to paying for a health-care plan that included abortion coverage and then be forced to pay an abortion surcharge into a fund that is meant to be used solely for the purposes of destroying human life.”
The issue, however, is “not a partisan issue — this is common sense,” as other citizens should know whether or not they are subsidizing abortions and whether they will receive coverage for such products and procedures, she said.
Lipinski explained that such a situation would be avoidable if the government did not fund abortions,and recognized earlier laws that prevented such use of taxpayer funds.
“There is a long-standing principle in our country that the federal government does not subsidize abortions. Yet, under Obamacare, taxpayer money under the guise of federal subsidies will be paying for insurance that covers elective abortion.”