Updated at 5:34 p.m. on October 9 to include bill number and remarks from co-sponsors.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If a new bill introduced by a pro-life congressman is passed, insurance companies will no longer be able to hide whether their plans cover abortion and will charge enrollees a $1 monthly abortion surcharge.
Congressman Christopher Smith, R-NJ, announced today that he is introducing the “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” (H.R. 3279) to remedy the current veil of silence that deprives customers of the information they need to make a conscientious health care choice.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), conventionally known as ObamaCare, currently mandates that insurance companies that are part of the law's state exchanges not disclose whether they pay for elective abortions until enrollment.
Section 1303(b)(2) of the law specifically states that agents “shall provide information only with respect to the total amount of the combined payments” – and not about abortion coverage.
Those plans that cover abortion-on-demand will charge each policy holder a $1 abortion surcharge.
“Doubtlessly there are many Americans who would object to paying a surcharge into a fund to be used solely for the purpose of destroying innocent human lives,” Congressman Smith said in a letter written today to his colleagues in search of co-sponsors.
His bill requires that coverage of abortion “shall be prominently displayed in any marketing or advertising materials, comparison tools, or summary of benefits and coverage explanation.”
Rep. Smith has been joined by 70 co-sponsors.
"If ObamaCare is all about choice, then why is the administration making it so difficult for people to find out whether a plan pays for an abortion?" asked Rep. Joe Pitts, R-PA, at a press conference with Smith this afternoon. "It's time we got some truth in advertising."
"It's astonishing to me that we've come to the point when we don't even tell people -- when we're willing to try to hide from those of a differing opinion -- whether their dollars are even going to pay for the killing of these children," said Congressman Trent Franks, R-AZ.
Rep. Smith's staffers, who tried to find out which plans covered abortion after last Tuesday's glitch-ridden ObamaCare rollout, reported running into a wall of secrecy and doublespeak. According to Smith:
- A representative with the “Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat” said, “You may have to wait until you pick a plan to see if they cover abortions”;
- A telephone representative with the D.C. Health Link said that persons wishing to learn whether or not abortion is covered should call each individual health insurance carrier directly; and
- A representative with a carrier offering coverage on the Minnesota marketplace said that their company will include abortion in every plan, but there would be no separate charge for abortion. This statement is either false or means that the carrier will intends to violate of section 1303 of the ACA.
Smith said that members of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), a pro-life think tank, reported similar findings:
- Contacting CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield in Maryland, CLI was told that customer-service representatives “don’t get a full contract” to have on hand and the “part of the site [that would allow her to determine whether abortion was covered] is not working”; and
- Contacting Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in New York, CLI was told that “the policies are not available yet” and suggested that CLI call again in two weeks.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute found that under the healthcare law the total number of taxpayer-funded abortions could increase by 18,397 in one year. The total annual number could range from 71,000 to 111,500. In other words, under ObamaCare taxpayers could fund 10 percent of abortions each year.
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Roll Call newspaper reported than an anonymous source within the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) told it that the Obama administration took pains to “ensure that in each exchange, there is at least one plan available that covers abortions beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment and at least one plan that does not cover abortions beyond those permitted by the Hyde Amendment.”
Congressman Smith has called the ACA's secrecy provision and abortion surcharge an “insidious plan for public funding for abortion coverage in ObamaCare.”
“The mass deception of the Obama 2010 executive order has finally been exposed,” said Smith, Co-chair of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus.
"The president has spread a great deal of disinformation about the Affordable Care Act, especially when it comes to how the law treats abortion coverage," said Rep. Pitts. "ObamaCare rolls back decades of abortion policy and instead pays for policies with elective abortions," in violation of federal law.
Congresswoman Diane Black, R-TN, said she supported the bill, because it "would bring clarity to customers purchasing insurance through the exchanges."
"This should not be a partisan issue," she said. "This should be common sense."