Nov 10 2018
Wicker Letter Requesting End to Taxpayer Support for Abortion Coverage Bears Fruit
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s announcement of two new rules to provide religious and moral conscience protections for Americans. Wicker also supported the announcement of a proposed rule to ensure federal taxpayer dollars do not fund abortions:
“The actions announced this week by the Trump Administration are great news for religious freedom and the fight for life.
“American business owners with sincerely-held religious or moral objections will no longer face the unacceptable dilemma of having to choose between subverting their faith or incurring massive financial penalties for not complying with a federal mandate.
“I am also pleased that HHS has proposed eliminating the Obama-era directives that ignore the law requiring insurance providers bill abortion services separately for federally supported health-care plans. The department’s proposed rule would improve awareness of services included in American health insurance plans and make it clear no federal dollars can be used to support abortions.”
Wicker’s comments follow the release by HHS and the Departments of Treasury and Labor of two final rules to provide conscience protections for Americans who have a religious or moral objection to some federal requirements for employer-provided health insurance plans. Wicker has been a vocal supporter of efforts to overturn these regulations since they were enacted in 2012.
HHS also issued a proposed rule entitled, “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity,” which would require the full enforcement of Section 1303 in the ACA. This section, which has not been enforced by HHS, requires insurance providers to collect abortion surcharges separately from other insurance premiums, ensuring that federal subsidies for plans purchased on the federal or state Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges do not fund abortion services. Wicker led a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar in September asking for the department to enforce the provisions of Section 1303 to improve consumer awareness of the abortion surcharge.