U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) today introduced legislation to prevent by the force of law coverage of abortion services under the new health care law.
The Excluding Abortion Coverage from Health Reform Act of 2010 guarantees that no federal taxpayer dollars can be used to pay for elective abortions.
"The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to footing the bill for elective abortion. The President has promised that federal dollars will not pay for elective abortion, but the loopholes in the health legislation clearly leave the door wide open for that to happen," Hatch said. "Our bill slams that door and effectively guarantees that won't happen."
"Forcing Americans to pay for abortion services with their own dollars is a grave abuse of government authority. The administration's track record of ambiguity in this area underscores the need for federal legislation clarifying, once and for all, that public funds will not be used to pay for abortion services under the new health law," Coburn said.
Contrary to the administration's claims, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) does not prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions or subsidizing coverage for such abortions. President Obama's Executive Order 13535 regarding abortion funding merely restates accounting loopholes in the legislation, but fails to restrict abortion coverage in the newly-created health insurance Exchanges or protect against other federal subsidies for abortion.
Because the new health care law fails to address the substantive, principled concerns of taxpayers, the Excluding Abortion Coverage Act offers the following solutions:
Problem #1: The new health care law subsidizes insurance policies that cover elective abortions.
Solution: The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act applies the Hyde Amendment to the new health care law by guaranteeing that no tax subsidies can flow to plans that cover elective abortion.
Problem #2: The new health care law effectively requires all enrollees who have health insurance plans that cover abortion to pay for abortions obtained by other plan participants.
Solution: The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act eliminates this accounting gimmick to create real separation by requiring abortion plans to be sold separately from health care plans in the new Exchanges that will be in operation and will receive federal dollars. This protects Americans from being forced to pay an abortion surcharge in order to obtain the health care plan they are mandated to purchase.
Problem #3: The new health care law grants authority to federal officials to mandate abortion coverage.
Solution: The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act prevents any federal agencies or appointees from mandating private insurance plans to cover abortion.
Problem #4: The new health care law does not adequately protect the conscience of health care entities.
Solution: The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act codifies the Hyde-Weldon provision to protect health care providers from being penalized by state and local governments or by the federal government for refusing to participate in providing abortions.
Problem #5: The new health care law allows the Federal Government to administer health care plans that include abortion.
Solution: The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act prevents the Office of Personnel Management from contracting with or administering health plans that include abortion.
Problem #6: Multiple funds or programs are established under the new health care law related to "reproductive services," but have no prohibitions on taxpayer-funding of abortion services.
Solution: The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act prevents all taxpayer funds under the new health care law from being used to pay for elective abortion services or coverage.
Problem #7: Only permanent, statutory language can prevent federal funding for abortion coverage through the government-regulated Exchanges, protect the right of conscience for health care providers, and guarantee that private insurance companies are not mandated by the government to cover abortion.
Solution: The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act amends the new health care law to offer permanent pro-life protections provided under the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and a similar amendment previously offered by Sens. Nelson and Hatch in the Senate.
The Excluding Abortion Coverage Act has 25 cosponsors. The bill is companion legislation to the House legislation, Protect Life Act (H.R.5111), introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.).