“YES” on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
Today, the House will vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7). Sponsored by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), the bill would establish a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal taxpayer funding of abortion and health benefits plans that include coverage of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. It would also prevent federal tax dollars from being entangled in abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
As Rep. Smith explains, “Under Obamacare, billions of dollars in the form of tax credits are today buying abortion-subsidizing health insurance plans in exchanges throughout the country.”
The Heritage Foundation notes Congress failed to apply longstanding protections against federal funding of abortion or abortion coverage to the totality of Obamacare, potentially allowing large taxpayer subsidies to flow to health plans that cover elective abortion. They explain, “taxpayers will now foot the bill for federal subsidies for the purchase of health plans on the exchanges… and some of those plans could cover elective abortion.”
Under Obamacare, individuals and families who live in states that allow abortion coverage on their exchanges could end up paying directly for coverage of elective abortions, possibly without their knowledge. Individuals enrolled in one of the federally subsidized exchange plans that cover abortion will be forced to pay an surcharge of at least $12 per year – and possibly much more – out of their own pockets. Many individuals and families who would otherwise object to paying for abortion coverage may not even be aware of the surcharge. Insurers are allowed under Obamacare to disclose the existence and amount of the abortion surcharge only at the time of enrollment, and that warning may be as little as a single sentence in a massive plan document.
In addition to preventing taxpayer funding for health plans that include coverage of abortion under Obamacare, H.R. 7 would eliminate the accounting gimmicks and secrecy clauses in the healthcare law. Until those provisions come into effect in 2015, qualified health plans offered on Obamacare exchanges would be required to disclose whether the plan includes coverage of elective abortion. Specifically, H.R. 7 would amend Obamacare to “require issuers that include elective abortion coverage on exchange plans to prominently display in marketing and enrollment materials the existence of such coverage” and that “enrollees will pay a separate premium, right out of their own pockets, for abortion coverage.”
Taxpayers should be protected against funding of abortion and abortion coverage. Of course, to truly protect Americans’ freedom to purchase the health care plans that meet their needs and respects their values, Obamacare must be repealed. In the meantime, this legislation provides essential protections to federal taxpayers from being forced to fund abortion or abortion coverage.
Heritage Action supports H.R. 7 and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.