"I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness," President Obama said during a conference call with religious folks this evening, "but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about."
He then repeated all of the misleading statements weaved into his stump speech, such as his statement that "If you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan."
But he also added a new lie to the list, saying:
"You've heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion. Not true. These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation--and that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother's keeper and I am my sister's keeper. And on the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call."
While the White House "reality check" website was silent on the issue of abortion in Obamacare, his campaign website quotes a
false outdated factcheck.org statement that "In fact, none of the health care overhaul measures that have made it through the committee level in Congress say that abortion will be covered".
In fact, the Capps Amendment passed by the House Energy and Commerce committee would require the establishment of at least one plan covering elective abortions in every federally-subsidized exchange, and it gives the HHS Secretary the authority to include abortion coverage in the public plan and requires that the public plan cover abortion if the Hyde amendment (which bans funding of abortions through Medicaid) is repealed.
Supporters of the Capps Amendment argue that in theory the amendment would require an abortionist to be paid out of the premiums contributed by the individual (not with the federal subsidies). So, say, an individual contributes $500 to purchase an insurance policy, and the federal government provides that individual with $3,000 in taxpayer-subsidies. When the bill comes due from the abortionist, he will theoretically be paid out of the $500 contributed by the individual.*
This is a distinction without a difference. Without the federal subsidies the individual would not have access to a plan that covers abortion -- i.e. without the taxpayer-subsidies many people would otherwise be paying full price for an abortion out of pocket.
Currently, health insurance plans for federal employees cannot cover abortions. Their premium dollars cannot be segregated and used to purchase abortions. Pro-life leaders call this a "bookkeeping scheme". Can any intellectually honest person call it something else? As Reason's Jacob Sullum wrote, "The Democrats might as well tell the anti-abortion taxpayer that they won't use his money to kill fetuses, which will be done only with money from taxpayers who have no compunctions about the procedure."
*It is unclear who will pay for the additional cost of abortions that cost more than the total premiums contributed.