The Trump administration issued a new rule Friday requiring insurance companies that cover abortion within Obamacare to issue two bills to consumers – one for abortion coverage and one for the rest of their monthly premium.
Under a current law known as the Hyde Amendment, taxpayer-funded abortion is prohibited except in the cases of rape, incest and to save the mother’s life.
The new rule, issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), applies to insurance plans within Obamacare’s state-based exchanges that cover abortions prohibited under Hyde. CMS estimates that 18 states currently have insurers that offer coverage of abortion services prohibited under the Hyde Amendment.
Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – requires insurance companies that offer plans covering abortion to “collect from each enrollee in the plan (without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex, or family status) a separate payment” for abortion services.
The requirement received significant mainstream coverage when Obamacare was debated and was added as a compromise between pro-life and pro-choice groups – although both sides at the time criticized the concept.
“Providing these separate bills is an essential step in implementing the Affordable Care Act’s bar on tax credits going toward coverage of abortions for which public funding is prohibited,” said Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “The separate billing requirement fulfills Congress’ intent and reflects President Trump’s strong commitment to preventing taxpayer funding of abortion coverage.”
The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List applauded the new rule, saying it enforces the law and blocks Obamacare’s “hidden abortion surcharge.”
“Obamacare was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion since Roe v. Wade, dramatically increasing abortion funding by subsidizing plans that cover abortion on demand,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “Making this dramatic expansion even more onerous, the Obama administration allowed insurers to ignore the law by burying the abortion surcharge in plan documents instead of collecting it separately.
“This new rule will ensure compliance so that ‘separate’ no longer means ‘together’ when it comes to funding abortion. President Trump has delivered an important victory for American consumers and taxpayers, the majority of whom oppose using tax dollars to pay for abortions.”
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Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.