Tue Jun 11, 2013 - 12:27 pm EST
Sebelius orders health insurers to cover Planned Parenthood in Obamacare exchanges
June 11, 2013 (FRC) - Most Americans probably have no recollection of what happened on March 24, 2010 -- except maybe former Congressman Bart Stupak. He was in the White House that morning to watch the President sign a deceptively meaningless executive order that promised the government wouldn't fund abortion as part of the health care law. Given the subterfuge that's now a hallmark of the Obama administration, it's likely that this "agreement" was a fraud from its inception.
And more than three years later, the White House is doing an excellent job proving why. According to the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who led the Planned Parenthood cheering section as Kansas's governor, is taking her allegiance to new heights with the ObamaCare law. In an April letter to insurers, Sebelius issued a regulation ordering companies to cover Planned Parenthood clinics in their state exchange packages. Planned Parenthood, which she deems as an "essential community provider," is part of the long list of local organizations that insurers are required to partner with. (Others, Bedard says, include lesbian and gay centers, family planning clinics, and "holistic" centers.)
"We've never covered these sorts of thing," a Wisconsin provider told Bedard. He, like most health care representatives, is probably horrified at the prospect of collaborating with an organization which (when it isn't lobbying for infanticide) is on trial for government fraud and botched abortions. Unfortunately for Americans, Sebelius -- not Congress -- decides what belongs in state exchanges. And if her past relationships are any indication, taxpayers are in for even more surprises when ObamaCare goes into effect January 1.
While the President's team tries to open up new funding for Planned Parenthood, several states are fighting to end the ones that already exist. Arizona's legislature, whose ban on taxpayer-funding for Planned Parenthood was struck down by the courts last year, is trying again -- this time with a more targeted approach. Today, House leaders are scheduled to debate a last-minute amendment to the state's budget that would zero out taxpayer-funding of Planned Parenthood -- except for non-abortion services.
Our good friend Cathi Herrod, who heads up the Center for Arizona Policy, explains the problem with directing any money -- even non-abortion dollars -- to Cecile Richards's group. "The basic pro-life concern is that every $1 that goes to an abortion provider for a health care service frees up another dollar to subsidize abortions services," she told local reporters. Under this language, Arizona would be banned from using government dollars to "indirectly subsidize abortion services including funding for rent, employee salaries, and other overhead or administrative costs." Also, as it currently stands, Arizona's abortion clinics are the only state medical facilities that aren't subjected to "unannounced inspections." SB 1069 would change that. Under the same amendment, Planned Parenthood clinics would face the same surprise health department visits as any other office.
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Meanwhile, Sebelius's new abortion emphasis won't find many more fans in Ohio, where the state Senate just passed a $61.7 billion budget out of the House that takes a clever approach to weeding out Planned Parenthood. In the new proposal, leaders would prioritize pregnancy resource centers over Planned Parenthood in federal funding for its state programs. It also bars doctors who work at public hospitals from also servicing abortion clinics -- a move that could drive up the number of Planned Parenthood clinic closures. With doors closing in two more locations -- one in Pennsylvania and one in New York -- Jill Stanek reports that the number of Planned Parenthood clinics is down 23% since 1995.
Unfortunately, Delaware's "meat-market" facility wasn't one of them. After posing "a clear and immediate danger to the public" (state Attorney General Beau Biden's words), the clinic guilty of 14 health violations -- including reusing bloody gloves, exposing women to unsanitary equipment, and encouraging unlicensed workers to medicate patients -- is back in business, and, like all Planned Parenthood clinics, looking forward to its new insurance partnerships under ObamaCare.
Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council (FRC).
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