When the Obamacare legislation was being debated, opponents argued that because it would require insurance companies to cover abortion services, it was illegal due to the congressional stricture against the government funding abortions.
Indeed, if the insurance coverage was being subsidized by the government, and the government was forcing insurance companies to cover the procedure, the only logical conclusion was that the government was funding abortions.
The Obama administration discovered a “workaround” for the dilemma by requiring insurance companies to itemize their coverage for abortion. It didn’t solve the problem, but it gave cover to Congress in order to pass the ACA.
But many companies never got around to itemizing abortion coverage. To solve that, the Trump administration has now issued a ruling that forces insurance companies to send a separate invoice to the three million Americans who signed up for Obamacare coverage on the exchanges.
Many of those invoices will be going to men, who, of course, will never find a need for abortion coverage.
But the new policy is not without its critics, especially insurance companies, which are grumbling about the increased paperwork.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement that providing separate bills is “an essential step” in remedying that issue. “The separate billing requirement fulfills Congress’ intent and reflects President Donald Trump’s strong commitment to preventing taxpayer funding of abortion coverage,” he said.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other groups that oppose abortion praised the change.
“Consumers have a right to know if they are paying for elective abortion. While the Affordable Care Act still allows government-subsidized plans to cover abortion, at least with this rule, Americans can now see and try to avoid complicity by choosing plans consistent with their consciences,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, who is an official for the USCCB.
Curiously, the pro-abortion lobby is arguing that the rule treats abortion differently than other reproductive health services.
Forgive me for pointing this out, but haven’t these people been saying exactly that for well over 50 years—that abortion should be protected as a “right”?
Jacqueline Ayers, vice president for government relations for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the rule is an effort to make legal abortion more difficult to access: “This rule won’t just require separate payments, it further splits off abortion from other reproductive health care and puts up massive barriers to access.” Likewise Equity Forward’s Mary Alice Carter accused HHS of once again putting “the wishes of the antiabortion lobby ahead of what is best for the health and well-being of people in America.
No American should be forced by the government to pay for insurance coverage they don’t want or need. It goes against the very essence of individual liberty. That has always been the most powerful argument against Obamacare and the Trump administration is trying to rectify the problem.