During the months-long debate in Congress over ObamaCare, opponents argued that the bill would become a back-door method to funding abortions through federal taxpayer dollars, which the Hyde Amendments prohibited in each budget. Democrats refused to attach the Stupak amendment to ObamaCare, which would have put the Hyde language into statute, and insisted that insurance companies would be required to segregate abortion coverage so that federal tax dollars did not fund abortion coverage. In the end, Bart Stupak and his small coterie of pro-life Democrats caved, and his party left those promises ringing in the air as they shoved the bill down the throats of voters, who were then and are now largely opposed to ObamaCare.
More than four years later, the GAO confirms what opponents knew would happen when the federal government took over the health-insurance industry:
The Government Accountability Office said in a report released late Monday that only 1 of 18 insurers it reviewed was separately itemizing a charge for coverage of elective abortions on enrollees’ bills.
That detail is important because the original compromise that President Barack Obama sealed with anti-abortion Democrats stipulated that no federal funds would be used to pay for elective abortions. Instead, private health plans covering the procedure would collect a separate premium, which would be segregated from federal subsidies for other medical services.
Although abortion is a legal medical procedure, longstanding federal laws prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to pay for it, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
The new GAO review did not address the fundamental question of whether federal subsidies under the health law are being used for elective abortions, but abortion opponents said the findings underscore their view that the compromise is an accounting gimmick.
In a written response, the Health and Human Services Department said it “acknowledges that additional clarification may be needed” when it comes to the health law’s provisions on abortions.
If they aren’t segregating the coverage, then any subsidies provided go explicitly for abortion coverage. That’s pretty simple, as the subsidies are calculated in part on the price of the premiums. It’s worth noting, as it was at the time of the ObamaCare debate in Congress, that subsidies would still indirectly facilitate abortion coverage even if insurers were following the law, but since they’re not, that point is moot anyway.
Another promise at the time from the Obama administration was that each state would have to provide at least one option without abortion coverage for those opposed to the practice. Consider that a second promise broken by Barack Obama’s HHS:
The GAO report found that in Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont, all insurance plans offered on the exchanges cover abortions above and beyond the exceptions for rape, incest and the mother’s life. The health law required the Office of Personnel Management to ensure there was at least one insurance policy in each state that did not cover abortion except in the restricted circumstances.
The report’s timing isn’t going to help Democratic incumbents defending their seats in the next few weeks, Politico notes:
The report’s release is likely to elicit new election-year attacks on congressional Democrats from anti-abortion groups and Republicans who warned that Obamacare would allow for taxpayer subsidized abortions.
In other words, Republicans were right about the Obama administration’s motives on this point, and Democrats in Congress made themselves complicit in the deception. Why shouldn’t that be part of the accountability of ObamaCare-supporting incumbents in this election cycle?