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AUL files comments with HHS on PCIP

Friday, Americans United for Life submitted comments on the Department of Health and Human Services interim final rule to implement requirements in section 1101 of Title I (pertaining to the creation of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Program (PCIP program), or “high risk pools”) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Affordable Care Act).

The regulation includes a list of services for which coverage under the PCIP program is “unequivocally prohibited.”[1] Section 152.19(b) provides that “[b]enefit plans offered by a PCIP shall not cover . . . (4) Abortion services except when the life of the woman would be endangered or when the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”[2]

AUL’s comments make the following four points, and may be read below:

  1. Section 152.19(b) of the regulation is consistent with existing federal law and policy prohibiting the use of federal tax dollars for abortions or for insurance plans that cover abortions;
  2. The Affordable Care Act and existing law do not explicitly prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for abortions through the PCIP program, but section 1101 of Title I, Subtitle B gives the Secretary of HHS the authority to do so;
  3. Executive Order 13535 issued on March 24, 2010 did not expressly prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for abortions through the PCIP program; however, the Executive Order’s language demonstrates the intent of the Administration to do so, as does its characterization of the effect of the Executive Order and its promises that no federal tax dollars would be used for abortions through health care reform and;
  4. In light of long standing federal law prohibiting the use of federal tax dollars for abortions and the authority given by the Affordable Care Act to the Secretary of HHS to prohibit federal funding for abortions through the PCIP program, Section 152.19(b) of the regulation should be promulgated as a final part of the regulation.

[1] Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Program, 75 Fed. Reg. 45014, 45018 (July 30, 2010) (to be codified at 45 C.F.R. pt.152).

[2] Id. at 45031.