Just over five years ago, an attempt to persuade the Congress and the public to support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama stood before a joint session of Congress and declared to the American people, “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
A new report released today, prepared by the independent, nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), demonstrates that despite the President’s unambiguous promise taxpayer dollars are being spent on abortion.
By way of review, the federal Hyde Amendment strictly prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion from 1976 until 2010, when the ACA was passed.
This longstanding federal policy became a major point of contention in the legislative debate as finding votes proved to be difficult, even among his friends.
Eight pro-life Democrats refused to support the ACA if federal funds were going to be used for abortion.
In order to secure those votes, President Obama proposed a rule that would require any policy covering abortion to charge an abortion surcharge and promised that other funds would not be used to pay for abortion.
In the end, this convinced those who were otherwise uneasy with the law to support it and final passage was secured.
However, this GAO report only confirms the suspicions of many that the proposal was a gimmick intended to secure votes, not an honest attempt to honor the conscience of the hundreds of millions of Americans who do not want to pay for abortions.
Some states took action to prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for abortion. But in states where that did not happen, the federal government has done nothing to ensure compliance with federal law.
The report found that five states (NJ, CT, VT, RI, HI) don’t offer a single plan that doesn’t include abortion coverage. That means that all subsidies in those states are covering abortion.
In the state of California, where 1.25 million people are receiving federal subsidies for their health care plans, 95% of all plans cover abortion.
In the state of New York, 405 of 406 plans cover abortion on demand.
Over 1,000 plans on the ACA exchanges cover abortion on demand, which would never have been allowed under the Hyde Amendment.
The accounting gimmick that was supposed to be the solution to this problem is largely being ignored. Of the 18 companies the GAO surveyed in their study, not one of them was collecting a separate abortion surcharge.
We are not aware of any evidence that the Department of Health and Human Services has made any attempt to require compliance with its own laws on this matter.
If you like your insurance you can keep it, period.
Your premiums will go down.
Federal funds will not be used for abortion.
Looks like none of it was true.
That’s why we should all be concerned that at the same time he was promising not to use federal funds for abortion he was also promising that federal conscience laws will remain.