WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services must issue new regulations to enforce a requirement that consumers be notified if a subsidized health plan offered under the Affordable Care Act covers elective abortion and informed they must pay an extra amount for the plan’s abortion coverage.
That’s the view of 102 members of Congress who have signed an open letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking for the new regulations.
“Obamacare’s abortion surcharge is practically invisible to consumers,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, who signed the Aug. 6 letter. “Consumers have a right to know.”
The letter said that Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act requires that, when federal subsidies are used to pay for a plan that includes coverage of elective abortion, the subsidies cannot be used to pay for the abortions. Instead, separate payments must be collected and deposited into a fund used solely to pay for abortions.
It also said that, during the Obama administration, lax regulations undermined the requirement to separate the funds for abortions. For example, the issuer of the insurance policy is not required to separately identify the abortion surcharge, and it also can be collected in a single transaction. As a result, “there is no meaningful requirement for the collection of a separate payment for the plan’s abortion services, making the abortion surcharge all but invisible.”
If the enforcement continues to be based on these regulations, the letter said, “it will remain sorely deficient,” and so new regulations are necessary that will prevent people from purchasing plans that include abortion coverage.
The letter also requested that health plans which include abortion notify consumers of that fact at the time of enrollment to prevent consumers from buying such plans if they who do not wish to.
“The Trump administration now has the opportunity to take action and enforce the law to bring transparency to Obamacare’s abortion coverage and the abortion surcharge. No person should have to pay for abortion coverage they don’t want,” Smith said.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103