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Reid Releases Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last night unveiled a health care bill which provides for an unprecedented expansion of federally-funded abortion. The bill includes pro-abortion language and mirrors the false compromise Capps Amendment from the House debate — it allows the public option to include abortion coverage and provides federal subsidies for private plans which cover abortion.

The principle behind both the Hyde Amendment and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is that taxpayer dollars do not pay for abortions or subsidize insurance plans that cover abortions.  In the new Senate bill, the abortion language revealed on pages 116 through 124 in Senator Reid’s new health care bill will:

  • Require a plan that covers abortion in every insurance market.
  • Allow the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions through the public option.
  • Create new tax-funded subsidies to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion.

Following is the detailed analysis of the abortion provisions in the bill from AUL’s legal team:

Abortion Provisions (beginning on Page 116)

Section 1303(a)(1)

(A) (i) qualified health (private) plans will not be forced to cover abortions; (ii) they can choose to. [Same as Capps]


(i) Hyde-prohibited abortions;

(ii) Hyde-permitted abortions (currently rape, incest, life of the mother)

(C) (i)  The secretary may not require the “community health insurance option” (the public option) to include Hyde-prohibited abortions unless

(I) the Secretary ensures compliance with paragraph (2) below;

(II)ensures that through accounting mechanisms federal funds do not pay for abortions and

(III) ensures that the United States does not bear the health insurance risk of coverage of Hyde-prohibited abortions.

[Functionally, this is no different than Capps.  Secretary Sebelius can still include elective abortion in the public option]

(ii)  If a state requires the coverage of Hyde-prohibited abortions in a community health insurance option in the state, the state must ensure accounting mechanisms keep “funds flowing through or from” the option and other federal dollars from paying for defraying the cost of abortions.  The United States shall not bear the insurance risk for covering Hyde-prohibited abortions.

(iii) Nothing in (C) applies to Hyde-permitted abortions.  Hyde-permitted abortions should be covered to the same extent as they are covered under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.

[Same as Capps — If the Hyde Amendment is ever removed or the exceptions are broadened, then all abortions will be automatically covered by the public option]

(D) (i)(I): At least one plan in each Exchange must provide both Hyde-prohibited and Hyde-permitted abortions.

(II)  At least one plan must NOT offer Hyde-prohibited abortions.

(ii)(I)  The plan under (i)(II) above qualifies if it also does not offer Hyde-permitted abortions.

(II)  If an exchange has more than one insurance market, it must meet the rules in (i) for each market.

[Functionally same as Capps]

Section 1303 (a)(2) [This is the whole segregation / “abortion premium” section — functionally the same as Capps]

(A) A Qualified Health Plan that chooses to cover Hyde-prohibited abortions cannot use any of the funds attributed to the following sources:

(i) The credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code or the advanced payments of the credit available under Section 1412 of this Act;

(ii) Any cost-sharing reductions under Section 1402 of this Act and the amount (if any) of any advance payment of the reduction under Section 1412 of this Act;

(B) Segregation of funds ““Qualified Health Plans that choose to cover Hyde-prohibited abortions must segregate out funds equal to the actuarial amount determined under (C) below for all enrollees from the amounts described in (A) above.

(C) (i) The Secretary shall estimate the basic per enrollee, per month cost under a Qualified Health Plan for covering Hyde-prohibited abortions

(ii) The Secretary must:

(I) consider the impact on overall cost of including the coverage;

(II) Estimate such cost as if such coverage were included for the entire population covered;

(III) May not estimate it at less than $1 a month

Section 1303 (a)(3): Weak conscience protection (doesn’t protect pro-life insurance companies) [No Hyde-Weldon language]

Section 1303(b)(1): No preemption of state laws on abortion

Section 1303(b)(2):

(A) No preemption of federal laws on
(i) conscience

(ii) willingness or refusal to provide abortions

(iii) discrimination on the basis of willingness or refusal to provide abortion,

Section 1303(b)(3): No effect on federal civil rights laws

Section 1303(c): Nothing in the act relieves health care providers from being required to provide emergency services as required by state and federal law