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Center for American Progress: "Nothing in Federal Law Actually Restricts the Use of Federal or State Money for Abortion in PCIPs"

5:29 PM, Jul 16, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Congressman Bart Stupak issues a statement blaming "conservative groups" for spreading "misinformation about whether or not pre-existing condition insurance pools will use federal dollars for abortion services":

The President’s Executive Order makes clear that federal funds may not be used for abortion under the Affordable Care Act – including the pre-existing condition insurance pools currently being implemented in Pennsylvania, New Mexico and other states across the country. 

Jessica Arons of the Center for American Progress--not exactly a "conservative group"--helpfully explains that the law and the president's executive order do not prohibit federal funding for abortion in the pre-existing condition insurance plans (PCIPs).

An HHS spokeswoman says: "The contracts to operate the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan include a requirement to follow all federal laws and guidance."

"But here’s the catch," CAP's Jessica Arons points out, "nothing in federal law actually restricts the use of federal or state money for abortion in PCIPs."

The health care law's restrictions apply only to the insurance exchanges.* Did the executive order apply to PCIPs? Nope, says Arons:

"In fact, when the Executive Order was signed, it was widely seen as simply reiterating what was already in the PPACA and current law. ... Abortion opponents who participated in the [executive order] bargaining did not raise concerns about high risk pools or other specific potential sources of federal funding, and they should be able to live with the deal they made."

* The health care law's restrictions on the exchanges allow subsidized plans cover elective abortions as long as federal subsidies are "segregated" from individual premiums. The theoretically "private" premium dollars are used to cover abortions.

The Obama administration has not yet released the guidelines for PCIPs. Until it does we don't know if the guidelines will simply allow for federal abortion funding through a similar accounting trick, or if the guidelines will actually deny elective abortion coverage, as the law on the Federal Employees Health Benefits plans does.

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