GAO Report Proves the Senate Must Act To Stop Abortion Funding In Obamacare

Mary Therese Drury Paralegal, Americans United for Life
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The release of a report on abortion funding in Obamacare from the non-partisan government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), validates what pro-life advocates have been saying since before this landmark anti-life law was enacted — Obamacare is currently allowing taxpayer funding for abortion through federal subsidies in state health insurance exchanges. This violates both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, as promises were repeatedly made during the healthcare debates by President Obama and others that taxpayer funding for abortion would not occur.

The GAO report proves that the Senate must act now to protect Americans from financing abortion with their tax dollars, as Obamacare’s weak taxpayer protections are ignored.

The House of Representatives took action back in January to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 7 — a bill which would apply the Hyde Amendment to all federal funding, thereby precluding any government funding for abortion through Obamacare. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act was first introduced in the Senate in May 2013 — however Harry Reid’s pro-abortion Senate has been sitting on this bill for 16 months without giving it so much as a hearing.

For those looking for areas of bi-partisan agreement, a prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortion is a good place to start. During the healthcare debates, a Quinnipiac University National Poll found that more than seven out of ten Americans agree that their taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions — including people who identify themselves as pro-choice and pro-life. The abortion funding through Obamacare identified through the GAO report proves that this administration is out of touch with the views of most citizens of this country.

At a recent news conference with members of Congress, Americans United for Life General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne observed: “Sadly, Nancy Pelosi had it right when she said that Congress would have to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it. But there was one exception, and that was the clear command in the law that while insurance plans that cover abortion would be permitted to receive taxpayer funds through the new exchanges (in a departure from existing federal policy), those funds could not be used to directly pay for abortion. Without that assurance, Obamacare would not have passed.”

The GAO report shows that the Obama administration is not enforcing its own accounting gimmick, which requires “separate payments” for abortion premiums and “separate payment” for premiums for real health care, in plans offered through the exchanges that include abortion coverage. This convoluted accounting scheme is shrouded in a secrecy clause in order to further obfuscate the covert abortion premium mandate from the American people. The Democrats suggested this accounting scheme in order to skirt around the requirements of the Hyde Amendment, claiming it kept private abortion dollars from co-mingling with taxpayer subsidized healthcare dollars. The GAO report proves that even this scheme has been ignored in practice.

In fact, the GAO surveyed several Obamacare insurance issuers and found that not one of the insurers surveyed is collecting separate payments for the abortion premium — and most insurance issuers are not even itemizing the amount of the premium that is being used to pay for abortions.

The GAO identified 1,036 plans on the 2014 Exchanges that cover abortion on demand. Since, in practice, the insurance issuers are not collecting separate premiums and are therefore not likely to be separating any abortion premium from taxpayer subsidized healthcare funds, taxpayers are effectively paying for abortion coverage in these 1,036 plans.

Americans need to hold the Senate accountable for its inaction on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This November, citizens of this country must elect a pro-life Senate to ensure that Americans are protected from taxpayer funded abortions, as well as from the violation of their constitutionally protected freedom of conscience — especially through the forced funding of life-ending drugs and devices dictated in Obamacare mandates.

The House has done its job. If Harry Reid’s pro-abortion Senate will not act to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion, Americans must elect legislators who understand that real healthcare respects life and who keep their promises to the American people.

Mary Therese Drury is a paralegal with Americans United for Life.