Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Health Plans for Congress, Staffers Include Abortion Coverage

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Members of Congress and their staffers have abortion coverage available to them in health plans under Obama's socialized health plan, despite the president's promise that no federal funds would be used for the murderous procedure under the plan.

U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) revealed the troubling news in a press release December 3, recalling that in the run-up to ObamaCare, “Americans were repeatedly told and reassured by President Obama himself, including in a speech to a joint session of Congress in October 2009, that ‘under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.’”

Smith added that “Obama even issued the infamous Executive Order that claimed, ‘... the Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges.’”

In truth, however, Smith, said, those promises were hollow, since 103 of the 112 insurance plans that Members of Congress and their staffer have to choose from include elective abortion coverage. “Only nine plans offered exclude elective abortion,” Smith said.

Some 30 years ago, Smith first introduced an amendment that banned abortion funding in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, a measure that is still law. “Like the Hyde Amendment, the Smith Amendment prohibits the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) from funding or even engaging in administrative activities in connection with any plan that includes abortion,” Smith's office noted. “However, the Obama Administration is now violating the Smith amendment since the OPM has begun to administer a system for Members of Congress and their staff to obtain taxpayer-subsidized insurance coverage that pays for the destruction of innocent unborn children.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) charged that the Obama administration “is clearly breaking longstanding federal law by offering Members of Congress and congressional staff health care plans that include abortion on demand. This is just another example of how Obamacare expands taxpayer funding of abortion, and is sadly another instance of how the President and his Administration misled the American people when Obamacare was being debated by Congress.”

A recent study by the the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the SBA List, found that as many as 111,500 additional abortions per year could be subsidized by taxpayers via federal premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion in ObamaCare.

“Obamacare was forced through only after pro-life Democrats naively accepted a promise and an executive order from the White House that taxpayer dollars would not be used to fund elective abortion,” recalled Dannenfelser. “Promises as well as laws have now been broken.”

The Christian Post noted that during congressional debate over Obama's “Affordable Healthcare Act,” pro-life Democrats “were objecting to the law because of the abortion funding. Those Democrats reached an agreement with President Barack Obama. Obama signed an executive order that was supposed to prevent public funding for abortion.” But in September 2012, former Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak (Michigan), one of the pro-life Democratic holdouts, “said during a Democrats for Life panel at the Democratic National Convention that he was 'perplexed and disappointed that, having negotiated the Executive Order with the President, not only does the HHS mandate [to cover abortifacient drugs] violate the Executive Order but it also violates statutory law,'” reported the Christian Post.

Congressman Smith said that only through public pressure did Washington, D.C.'s ObamaCare health insurance market, called DC Health Link, explain how to wade through the bureaucratic red tape to find out which D.C. plans exclude abortion coverage. “To date, [Health and Human Services Secretary] Sebelius has failed to provide any information about abortion coverage in plans sold in dozens of states on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace — even after promising to do so over a month ago,” Smith charged. He said that such non-disclosure is a serious issue with ObamaCare nationwide, which led Smith to introduce the “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” (H.R. 3279), which would mandate that information regarding either inclusion or exclusion of abortion coverage as well as the existence of an abortion surcharge be prominently displayed on all health plans.

Smith added that he also recently introduced the “No Taxpayers Funding for Abortion Act,” (H.R. 7), designed, he said, “to rid Obamacare of its massive expansion of abortion-on-demand facilitation and funding.... Abortion isn’t health care — it kills babies and harms women. We live in an age of ultrasound imaging — the ultimate window to the womb and the child who resides there. We are in the midst of a fetal health care revolution, an explosion of benign interventions designed to diagnose, treat, and cure the youngest patients. Once again it is clear that Obamacare’s abortion mandate violates federal law and makes taxpayers complicit in the culture of death. This is not reform.”

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