Cardinal O'Malley: GovernmentReport Confirms Bishops' Concern on Abortion Coverage
Investigative agency finds over a thousand health plans covering
abortion on demand
Promised "separation" of abortion funds from tax dollars not implemented
Abortion-related abuses under Affordable Care Act require
September 16, 2014
WASHINGTON—A new report from the U.S. Government
Accountability Office (GAO) "confirms the U.S. bishops' longstanding concern
about abortion coverage" in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), said Cardinal Seán
O'Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.
S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The report, "Health
Insurance Exchanges: Coverage of Non-excepted Abortion Services by Qualified
Health Plans," was issued by the GAO, an independent reviewing agency of the
U.S. government, on September 15.
claims by President Obama and other supporters that the ACA would not promote
abortion, the report identified over a thousand health plans eligible for
federal premium subsidies that cover elective abortions. On five state
exchanges, every plan covers such abortions in 2014; in another three large
states, 95 to 98 percent of the plans do so. The Act's alleged requirements regulating
abortion coverage do not exist or are widely ignored. Many health plans do not inform
enrollees about their inclusion of abortion coverage; they do not tell them how
much they are being charged for such coverage; and they do not charge a
"separate payment" for abortions that is distinct from the premium payment
eligible for federal tax subsidies. While state insurance departments are
supposedly tasked by the federal government with ensuring that these health
plans maintain segregated accounts for abortion funds to keep them separate
from federal funds, the report indicates that this is not taking place.
"This report confirms
the U.S. bishops' longstanding concern about abortion coverage that we raised
both before and after enactment of the Affordable Care Act by Congress," said
Cardinal O'Malley. "Surveys have shown that most Americans do not want elective
abortion in their health coverage, and do not want their tax dollars to fund
abortions.Their wishes are not being
followed, and it can be difficult or impossible for them to find out whether
those wishes are respected even in their own health plan."
added: "The only adequate solution to this problem is the one the Catholic
bishops advocated from the beginning of the health care reform debate in
Congress: Bring the Affordable Care Act into compliance with the Hyde amendment
and every other federal law on abortion funding, by excluding elective
abortions from health plans subsidized with federal funds. At a minimum,
Congress should not delay in enacting a law to require full disclosure of
abortion coverage and abortion premiums to Americans purchasing health plans."
Past USCCB materials
on this issue, including Cardinal O'Malley's letters to Congress endorsing the
"No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 7) and the "Abortion Insurance
Full Disclosure Act" (H.R. 3279), are at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/index.cfm.For
an analysis of how the Affordable Care Act treats abortion coverage see www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Backgrounder-The-New-Federal-Regulation-on-Coerced-Abortion-Payments.pdf.
USCCB, U.S. Catholic bishops, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Committee on Pro-Life
Activities, abortion, Affordable Care Act, Government Accountability Office,
GAO, elective abortion, health coverage, funding, Congress, Obama
MEDIA CONTACTNorma Montenegro FlynnO: 202-541-3202
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