The PJ Tatler

GAO Report 'Highlights Obamacare’s Unlawful Dismissal' of Provisions on Funding Abortion

A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that the administration has skirted policy intended to keep taxpayers from paying for elective abortions under Obamacare.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires the qualified healthcare plans offered in the exchanges, and the plans may offer abortions. However, the law prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for “non-excepted abortion services” — abortion services that take place in instances where there is not rape, incest, or the life of the mother involved.

“There are 23 states with laws restricting the circumstances under which QHPs may provide non- excepted abortion services as a covered benefit in 2014, and 28 states with no such laws. Among the 23 states with restrictions, 17 have laws that do not permit the coverage of non-excepted abortion services by QHPs, and 6 states permit the coverage of non-excepted abortion services only in limited circumstances, such as to prevent substantial and irreversible impairment of a pregnant woman’s major bodily function,” the GAO report states.

The GAO found that in 5 states (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont), all QHPs cover non-excepted abortion services.

In 15 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia,
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington), some QHPs cover non-excepted abortion services. In 8 states (Delaware,
Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Wyoming), no QHPs cover non-excepted abortion services.

“Of the 18 issuers offering QHPs that cover non-excepted abortion services from which we
obtained information, all but three issuers indicated that the benefit is not subject to any restrictions, limitations, or exclusions,” the report adds.

“PPACA requires that QHP issuers providing non-excepted abortion services coverage notify
enrollees at the time of enrollment that those services are covered. While most issuers
from which we collected information indicated they were notifying enrollees that abortion
services were provided as a covered benefit, four issuers indicated they were not disclosing this information to enrollees.”

The GAO said it presented its report to the Department of Health and Human Services, which “stated that, based upon our findings, additional clarification may be needed and CMS will use our findings to address issues of concern to better ensure that stakeholders understand the laws and regulations governing the provision of non-excepted abortion services coverage.”

“The American people deserve an administration committed to carrying out the law – not usurping it,” House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said in a statement. “Disappointingly, today’s report marks one more example of the president’s disregard for the law and for hard-earned taxpayer dollars.”

“For decades, both Republicans and Democrats have believed that taxpayer dollars should not fund elective abortion,” she said. “Yet this report highlights Obamacare’s unlawful dismissal of these bipartisan measures.”

McMorris Rodgers referred to the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2014, which passed the House in January and has since been sitting in the Senate.

“We must come together to protect hardworking taxpayers across the country, which is why I was proud to support bipartisan legislation that corrects this abuse – and I am hopeful the Senate will take up this important legislation,” she said. “We must put an end to this unacceptable executive overreach.”