A second abortion mandate in Obamacare

National Review has uncovered a second abortion mandate in Obamacare:

Finalized on March 12, 2012 (and set to go into effect with the 2014 exchanges), the new HHS rule implements Section 1303 of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The new rule imposes mandates on every single enrollee in a qualified health plan that happens to include abortion coverage. In particular, federal law will soon mandate that every single individual enrolled in such a plan make payments to a private fund designated solely to the payment of abortion. This scheme allows Obamacare to get around the controversial issue of government-funded abortions with a new funding source: mandatory private payments by you, the insured.

Here’s how it works. The new rule authorizes issuers to offer abortion coverage as part of their plans in the government-subsidized exchanges. For issuers that voluntarily include abortion coverage as part of their health plans, the new HHS rule mandates the private insurer to compel all enrollees to directly pay a separate abortion premium “without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex or family status.” Not surprisingly, the abortion premium also must be paid without regard to whether the individual has a religious or moral objection to funding other people’s abortions.

The new rule specifies that the abortion premium must be separately itemized on each enrollee’s bill or payroll deduction. The Obama administration’s new rule then directs the issuer to place the abortion premiums into “allocation accounts” to be used “exclusively” to pay for other people’s elective abortion. It’s astounding. It’s also a violation of religious liberty for the reasons set forth in the friend-of-the-court brief that we recently filed to aid the Supreme Court in its review of Obamacare’s individual mandate.

So, if you want to avoid abortion premiums, you can simply pick an abortion-free plan, right? Well, the new HHS rule seems deliberately designed to foil that option. With an audacious snub of the concept of consumer transparency, the HHS rule expressly instructs the issuer to hide the abortion coverage and the mandated separate abortion-premium payment from any advertising or information listings in the state exchanges.

According to the rule: “A [qualified health plan] that provides for coverage of [elective abortion] must provide a notice to enrollees, only . . . at the time of enrollment.” It goes on to provide that the issuer’s advertising in the exchange must provide information “only with respect to the total amount of the combined payments” (without the need to put consumers on notice by breaking out the abortion amount to be billed separately). Thus consumers picking plans will likely have no idea about which ones come with the abortion premium mandate.

Who will end up in these plans? First, many people will accidentally walk into the rule’s trap and buy a policy under which the federal government will force them to make monthly abortion-premium payments — something they would not do if the government mandated transparency (or at least permitted transparency!) about the abortion-premium mandates. Second, many people will end up in these plans if it is the plan chosen by their employers. Third, many people may be forced to select these plans if available alternatives do not have the coverage or doctor networks their families need.

One way or another, millions of Americans will soon find themselves in plans that require these separate abortion payments as a matter of federal law.

via What Rules Us – By Dorinda C. Bordlee & Nikolas T. Nikas & Mark Rienzi – Bench Memos – National Review Online.

HT:  Leroy Huizenga

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.doxology.us Harold Senkbeil

    If true, an amazingly arrogant breach of fundamental liberties that makes the Founders’ concerns over the tea tax pale by comparison. The brave new world envisioned by the current administration appears to be one in which babies are a threat to be thwarted by every possible means.

  • http://www.doxology.us Harold Senkbeil

    If true, an amazingly arrogant breach of fundamental liberties that makes the Founders’ concerns over the tea tax pale by comparison. The brave new world envisioned by the current administration appears to be one in which babies are a threat to be thwarted by every possible means.

  • Carl Vehse

    After his strong and confessional stand in his congressional committee testimony on the LCMS opposition to the HHS mandate I’ll be eager to hear what LCMS President Matthew Harrison has to say about yet another Obamination, which, incidentally, was passed largely unread by the members of Congress before whom Pres. Harrison testified.

  • Carl Vehse

    After his strong and confessional stand in his congressional committee testimony on the LCMS opposition to the HHS mandate I’ll be eager to hear what LCMS President Matthew Harrison has to say about yet another Obamination, which, incidentally, was passed largely unread by the members of Congress before whom Pres. Harrison testified.

  • Rev. Jacob Ehrhard

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that there is no baby to be found in all of this dirty bathwater. The entire thing needs to be thrown out; we’ll see what the SCOTUS decides soon enough, I suppose.

    It occurred to me while reading this report that there is a very distinct difference between being pro-health and pro-life. Pro-health, as is the current administration, assigns value to life only when it is strong and healthy. Any burden that encumbers this goal is to be treated, excised, and tossed on the bio-waste heap. Because when I am strong, then I am strong.

    Ironically, pro-health proves to be antithetical to pro-life.

  • Rev. Jacob Ehrhard

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that there is no baby to be found in all of this dirty bathwater. The entire thing needs to be thrown out; we’ll see what the SCOTUS decides soon enough, I suppose.

    It occurred to me while reading this report that there is a very distinct difference between being pro-health and pro-life. Pro-health, as is the current administration, assigns value to life only when it is strong and healthy. Any burden that encumbers this goal is to be treated, excised, and tossed on the bio-waste heap. Because when I am strong, then I am strong.

    Ironically, pro-health proves to be antithetical to pro-life.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Hal @#1: How good to hear from you, Hal (my longtime friend). I didn’t know you read my blog.

    But yes, everyone. If your company has an insurance program that covers abortion (something most employees will have no control over), each employee must pay “an abortion premium” of at least one dollar to pay for any of their fellow-workers or others with the same insurance who want an abortion.

    So it isn’t just church-related organizations that are being mandated to pay for abortion. Individuals are. They are being required by law to pay at least a dollar towards abortion.

    Members of the Early Church was asked to burn a pinch of incense to Caesar as god. Many chose martyrdom instead.

    Paying one dollar for abortion may become the equivalent.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Hal @#1: How good to hear from you, Hal (my longtime friend). I didn’t know you read my blog.

    But yes, everyone. If your company has an insurance program that covers abortion (something most employees will have no control over), each employee must pay “an abortion premium” of at least one dollar to pay for any of their fellow-workers or others with the same insurance who want an abortion.

    So it isn’t just church-related organizations that are being mandated to pay for abortion. Individuals are. They are being required by law to pay at least a dollar towards abortion.

    Members of the Early Church was asked to burn a pinch of incense to Caesar as god. Many chose martyrdom instead.

    Paying one dollar for abortion may become the equivalent.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lotsa liberals want to be duped into believing the lies of ObamaCare.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lotsa liberals want to be duped into believing the lies of ObamaCare.

  • Tom Hering

    From PolitiFact.com:

    Many readers have asked us to review a recent claim reverberating around the Internet that stems from an article posted on an anti-abortion website, lifenews.com. The March 12, 2012, article is titled, “Obama Admin Finalizes Rules: $1 Abortions in ObamaCare.”

    The claim that the Obama administration has issued rules for “$1 abortions in ObamaCare” is ridiculous; the administration has simply set a floor for how much money per month of the premiums paid by those who have chosen plans that include abortion must be placed in a segregated account in order to make sure that there’s enough money available to pay for abortion services incurred by people enrolled in that plan.

    The bigger charge — that the Obama health care law “requires all persons enrolled in insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage to pay a separate premium from their own pockets to fund abortion” — is also incorrect.

    The provision in question only affects people who purchase insurance plans that cover abortion and who do so on the exchanges — a much narrower group than the claim suggests. And people who make such purchases will be paying their private dollars into abortion coverage accounts voluntarily. Despite some puzzling wording, ultimately the law allows for full disclosure of its abortion rules at the most obvious time, when someone is signing up for coverage. On balance, we rate this claim False.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/mar/21/blog-posting/does-barack-obamas-health-care-bill-include-1-abor/

  • Tom Hering

    From PolitiFact.com:

    Many readers have asked us to review a recent claim reverberating around the Internet that stems from an article posted on an anti-abortion website, lifenews.com. The March 12, 2012, article is titled, “Obama Admin Finalizes Rules: $1 Abortions in ObamaCare.”

    The claim that the Obama administration has issued rules for “$1 abortions in ObamaCare” is ridiculous; the administration has simply set a floor for how much money per month of the premiums paid by those who have chosen plans that include abortion must be placed in a segregated account in order to make sure that there’s enough money available to pay for abortion services incurred by people enrolled in that plan.

    The bigger charge — that the Obama health care law “requires all persons enrolled in insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage to pay a separate premium from their own pockets to fund abortion” — is also incorrect.

    The provision in question only affects people who purchase insurance plans that cover abortion and who do so on the exchanges — a much narrower group than the claim suggests. And people who make such purchases will be paying their private dollars into abortion coverage accounts voluntarily. Despite some puzzling wording, ultimately the law allows for full disclosure of its abortion rules at the most obvious time, when someone is signing up for coverage. On balance, we rate this claim False.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/mar/21/blog-posting/does-barack-obamas-health-care-bill-include-1-abor/

  • DonS

    Tom @ 6: Recall that we had this discussion about the $1 abortion premiums a couple of weeks ago. As was established on that thread, only the state can opt out of offering plans with abortion coverage on their exchanges. If your state does not opt out, then you have no option yourself to opt out — all of the exchange plans will include mandated abortion coverage.

    When (if) Obamacare is fully implemented, an individual or small company seeking health insurance coverage will only be able to find a plan on their state’s exchange. That’s the way the system is designed to work.

    This kind of thing is why the Administration’s arguments that everyone is necessarily a part of commerce with respect to the health care market, because everyone will eventually require health care, do not ring true. A mandate that individuals must purchase minimal catastrophic coverage policies would have supported that notion, and might have been convincing to the Court. But the fact that the law requires comprehensive coverage, with low deductibles and mandated coverage of many benefits, a lot of them, such as preventive care and contraceptive coverage, without any cost to the policy holder, gives the lie to that argument. The government certainly has not done what it considers to be its duty in the least restrictive way possible, and the result is that the government is mandating that young healthy people provide huge subsidies to older people for health care coverage, on top of all of the other subsidies (Social Security, Medicare, debt load) that young people are already bearing.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 6: Recall that we had this discussion about the $1 abortion premiums a couple of weeks ago. As was established on that thread, only the state can opt out of offering plans with abortion coverage on their exchanges. If your state does not opt out, then you have no option yourself to opt out — all of the exchange plans will include mandated abortion coverage.

    When (if) Obamacare is fully implemented, an individual or small company seeking health insurance coverage will only be able to find a plan on their state’s exchange. That’s the way the system is designed to work.

    This kind of thing is why the Administration’s arguments that everyone is necessarily a part of commerce with respect to the health care market, because everyone will eventually require health care, do not ring true. A mandate that individuals must purchase minimal catastrophic coverage policies would have supported that notion, and might have been convincing to the Court. But the fact that the law requires comprehensive coverage, with low deductibles and mandated coverage of many benefits, a lot of them, such as preventive care and contraceptive coverage, without any cost to the policy holder, gives the lie to that argument. The government certainly has not done what it considers to be its duty in the least restrictive way possible, and the result is that the government is mandating that young healthy people provide huge subsidies to older people for health care coverage, on top of all of the other subsidies (Social Security, Medicare, debt load) that young people are already bearing.

  • Tom Hering

    According to PolitiFact.com:

    … every state must offer at least one plan on its exchange that doesn’t cover abortion, and that plan will include the same minimum benefit package for non-abortion services that is required of every other plan sold on the exchanges.

  • Tom Hering

    According to PolitiFact.com:

    … every state must offer at least one plan on its exchange that doesn’t cover abortion, and that plan will include the same minimum benefit package for non-abortion services that is required of every other plan sold on the exchanges.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 8: Yep, you’re right. I missed that before. Guess it remains to be seen whether that one plan will be a competitive one that people will actually want to choose, but the requirement is in there.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 8: Yep, you’re right. I missed that before. Guess it remains to be seen whether that one plan will be a competitive one that people will actually want to choose, but the requirement is in there.

  • Katie

    This is so enraging and heart-wrenching. Abortion talk always gets to me, but never more so than when I am carrying a little life inside me. All of this talk about being coerced (actually, in some cases, it sounds almost more liked being tricked!) into financially supporting the murder of even one helpless child is almost more than this pregnant mother can bear to think about… We need to continue to be informed, do what we can to be involved, and most of all pray. Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!

  • Katie

    This is so enraging and heart-wrenching. Abortion talk always gets to me, but never more so than when I am carrying a little life inside me. All of this talk about being coerced (actually, in some cases, it sounds almost more liked being tricked!) into financially supporting the murder of even one helpless child is almost more than this pregnant mother can bear to think about… We need to continue to be informed, do what we can to be involved, and most of all pray. Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Katie: “All of this talk about being coerced (actually, in some cases, it sounds almost more liked being tricked!) into financially supporting the murder of even one helpless child is almost more than this pregnant mother can bear to think about…”.

    God bless you and your unborn child.

    What makes things worse is that there are some/many liberals who desire to be tricked or lied to. They want to believe the lie. How pathetic is that?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Katie: “All of this talk about being coerced (actually, in some cases, it sounds almost more liked being tricked!) into financially supporting the murder of even one helpless child is almost more than this pregnant mother can bear to think about…”.

    God bless you and your unborn child.

    What makes things worse is that there are some/many liberals who desire to be tricked or lied to. They want to believe the lie. How pathetic is that?

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  • http://snopes Sandra Welles

    I checked it out on snopes and it is true. Everyone will have to put a certain amount of money into a fund to pay for abortions. This is unacceptable. I should not have to pay for someone else taking a human life. This will be the absolute downfall of the United States of America.

  • http://snopes Sandra Welles

    I checked it out on snopes and it is true. Everyone will have to put a certain amount of money into a fund to pay for abortions. This is unacceptable. I should not have to pay for someone else taking a human life. This will be the absolute downfall of the United States of America.

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