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Obamacare Could Require Private Insurers to Fund Abortion on Demand

2:31 PM, Feb 13, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The National Right to Life Committee released a statement on Friday warning that Obamacare's mandate that private insurers cover contraception and the abortifacient drug ella may only be the start of Obamacare's mandatory "free" services. Abortion on demand could be next: 

"President Obama today promulgated a scam that, if he is re-elected, will allow him to mandate that every health plan in America cover abortion on demand," said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. "The same twisted logic will be applied: By ordering health plans to cover elective abortion, health plans would save the much higher costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and care for the baby -- and under the Obama scam, if a procedure saves money, then that means that you're not really paying for it when the government mandates it."

By this form of doublespeak, one could say that the federal Medicaid program was not really "funding abortion" when it paid for 300,000 abortions a year (prior to adoption of the Hyde Amendment in 1976), because after all, every abortion that the government paid for also saved the government money. 

The Obama "you must pay, but nobody pays" scam might also be applied to other "cost-cutting" mandates. Perhaps every health plan will be mandated to cover physician-assisted suicide, in states in which assisted suicide is legal. After all, each suicide would result in a net savings to the plan, and under the Obama scam, that means it is really free and nobody really pays for it.

Some journalists have wrongly reported that the ObamaCare law contains language prohibiting the federal government from mandating that health plans cover abortions. This is erroneous. The law prevents the Secretary of Health and Human Services from including abortion in a list of federally mandated "essential health benefits." But the birth control mandate is based on an entirely different provision of the law, which allows the Secretary to mandate that all health plans cover any service that the Secretary places on a list of "preventive" services. There is nothing in the law to prevent the Secretary from placing abortion, assisted suicide, or any other additional services on the preventive services list, nor does the Secretary require the agreement of any other authority in the government to do so -- except, perhaps, the president.

So what's holding Kathleen Sebelius back from mandating that private insurers pay for the full range of "reproductive services"? Well, 2012 is an election year, and an abortion-on-demand mandate would be enough to sink Obama in November.

Perhaps even if he wins reelection, Obama wouldn't want to pay the political price an abortion-on-demand mandate would incur. Requiring Obamacare's taxpayer-subsidized exchanges to cover elective abortions was a hard enough battle in 2010. But there's nothing in the law to stop Obama's secretary of Health and Human Services from making abortion on demand a mandatory "free" service offered by private insurers. 

It's not clear how many private insurance policies currently cover elective abortions. Kathleen Sebelius has testified to Congress that "most private plans do not cover abortion services except in limited instances." The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research organization and ally of the abortion industry, claims that 87 percent of insurers cover abortion, although a Kaiser study found that only 46 percent do. Another Guttmacher study found that only 13 percent of women who paid for abortions in 2001 did so with private insurance.

Update: Richard Doerflinger of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops pointed out last week that Washington state is on the verge of voting on a statewide abortion coverage mandate:

On January 26, a house committee in the Washington State legislature approved what may become the nation’s first-ever law forcing private health-insurance plans to cover abortion through all stages of pregnancy. This “Reproductive Parity Act” states that any health-insurance plan providing “coverage for maternity care or services” must prove “substantially equivalent coverage” for “the voluntary termination of a pregnancy.” It seems that if a health-insurance plan will cover a full-term live birth, it must also pay for a late-term abortion.

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