WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A coalition of 15 Senators have introduced a bill that would require health insurance plans to disclose whether they fund abortion. Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS, introduced Congressman Chris Smith's “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” into the Senate this week.
“Americans have a right to know if a plan they are purchasing covers abortion,” Senator Roberts said. “Millions of pro-life Americans oppose the use of their money to cover abortion services, but as current law is written, it is difficult to obtain information about which exchange plans provide such services.”
The bill, Roberts said, “requires this information to be prominently disclosed so consumers can make informed, values-based decisions.”
The law would force companies to reveal the amount of the abortion surcharge, as little as $1 in some cases, which are placed in a fund to pay for abortions.
The only difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill appears to the time allowed for compliance. The House allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to comply with the law within 90 days. The Senate version shortened this to 30 days.
Senator Roberts introduced the law into the upper chamber after a HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had a tense exchange with Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois over the topic.
On October 30, Congressman Shimkus asked Sebelius to provide his committee with a list of insurers who do not cover abortion. “I will check and make sure that is clearly identifiable,” she said.
At a follow-up hearing on December 11, Congressman Shimkus asked why she had not fulfilled her pledge.
“You promised to provide the list of those insurance plans. All we're asking is for you to keep that promise,” he said as the chairman banged the gavel during a heated exchange. “You promised last time.”
“It is available,” Sebelius insisted.
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A frazzled Sebelius has been under fire since October for the poor performance of ObamaCare, ranging from a glitch-ridden website to millions of people losing their health insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act's requirements.
“The failings of ObamaCare are painfully clear from loss of coverage to increased premiums, but the secrecy in the law raises serious moral and ethical issues. We need transparency,” Roberts said. “Consumers have a right to know what these fees are paying for so that they can choose an insurance plan that meets their needs and is in line with their beliefs and values.”
His co-sponsors include John Boozman of Arkansas, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Dan Coats of Indiana, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Risch of Idaho, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.