Friday, January 31, 2014

The House Passes the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

The House passed a bill Tuesday that ultimately seeks to limit abortion services by keeping federal dollars as far away from them as possible. 
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, or H.R. 7, was approved on a 227-188 vote Tuesday. The bill would expand restrictions on funding in light of the federal subsidies now available for private insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.
The bill is a bit of a misnomer, as federal funding is already largely prohibited from going toward abortion services. The Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, bars such funding except in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment to the pregnant woman. The provision is not permanent law, but it is passed each year as a rider to the appropriations bill.
Until the ACA, the Hyde Amendment applied primarily to Medicaid, as the major vehicle for publicly funded care. However, the health care law complicates things, as it is the first time federal funding is going toward private health plans, in the form of tax credits to low-income individuals. As a result, President Obama signed an executive order in 2010 that prevents the subsidies from being used for abortion services. 
However, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would take restrictions further, essentially codifying and significantly expanding the Hyde Amendment. The bill seeks to make the amendment permanent law, and to prevent federal funds from going not just toward abortions themselves but toward any plan, provider, or facility that offer such services.
The ACA does not prevent insurance plans from including abortion coverage, although every exchange must include one plan that does not. 
If a plan does not offer abortion coverage, or offers it only under the three exceptions, then there is no conflict and federal subsidies may be applied to the plan in full. If the plan does include abortion coverage, subsidies may go toward the rest of the plan except those services. If a woman elects to have an abortion, the cost of that procedure is separate from the rest of her premium, and she is fully responsible. 
H.R. 7 would prevent subsidies from going to these latter plans at all, for both individuals and small businesses. The bill would ban federal funds from being applied to any health plan that includes abortion coverage, and would prohibit any federal or D.C. health facility, and any provider employed by the federal government or D.C., from offering those services.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

If you like what you see, please "Like" us on Facebook either here or here. Please follow us on Twitter here.

No comments: