Jan 23 2017
Senators Announce Bill to Prohibit Use of Funds, Increase Insurance Plan Transparency
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., have introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” S. 184. The measure would establish a permanent, government-wide prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion. Similar policies, such as the Hyde Amendment, currently require annual passage and do not apply to Obamacare. President Trump has stated that he is committed to making the Hyde Amendment permanent.
The legislation also includes a provision championed by Sen. Roberts requiring that all plans offered by Obamacare exchanges disclose whether a plan includes coverage of elective abortion procedures, as well as the abortion surcharge embedded into abortion-covering plans.
“Taxpayer money should not be used to fund a procedure that so many Americans find morally objectionable,” Wicker said. “The time is ripe for us to enact a permanent solution that protects American taxpayers from funding abortions. This bill would establish these protections, in addition to making sure that people are notified if they have selected an abortion-covering health-care plan under Obamacare. Until we are able to undo these harmful health-care policies, transparency of the plans is critical.”
“Millions of Americans do not want to use their hard-earned money to cover abortion services,” said Roberts. “Currently, under Obamacare, many Americans unknowingly pay for abortion services covered under their health care plan. Our bill will permanently prohibit any taxpayer dollar from being used to pay for abortions and protect the rights for consumers to choose an insurance plan that is in line with their beliefs and values.”
The bill is the Senate companion to H.R. 7, authored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. The House of Representatives will likely vote on its companion bill this week, before the March for Life events.
Existing laws that would also be made permanent under S. 184 include the Smith FEHBP amendment, which prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage for federal employees, as well as the Dornan amendment, which prohibits use of congressionally appropriated funds for abortion in the District of Columbia.
In 2014, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office issued a report showing that taxpayer dollars paid for more than 1,000 health insurance plans that included elective abortion.
In addition to Senators Wicker, Roberts, and Fischer, cosponsors of the legislation include: Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; John Kennedy, R-La.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; David Perdue, R-Ga.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; John Thune, R-S.D.; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; and Todd Young, R-Ind.
The bill is supported by the National Right to Life, the Family Research Council, the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, March for Life, and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others.