WASHINGTON — Several prominent Christian organizations are asserting that Americans are being tricked into paying for the abortions of others through a little known surcharge included in Obamacare.
“No one should be forced to pay a secret fee to cover other people’s elective abortions,” said Casey Mattox, Senior Legal Counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “The Obama administration needs to stop deceiving the American people and coercing them to fund abortion. No matter where a person stands on abortion itself, everyone should be able to agree that this type of intentional and illegal deception is wrong and should stop.”
The organization, along with the Family Policy Council and the Charlotte Lozier Institute, recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to outline that even new rules proposed by the Obama administration keep Americans in the dark about the small surcharge included in most healthcare plans.
“If Americans are to be forced off their existing, chosen insurance plans and into the ACA insurance exchanges regulated by your agencies, they should at least be entitled to full disclosure of the contents of the plans on those exchanges and what they are paying for,” the letter stated. “Unfortunately, the proposed rules do not protect consumers, and in fact may continue to mislead them into enrolling in abortion-including plans and paying for others’ abortions in violation of their conscience.”
“Whatever one’s views of abortion, the current exchanges and plans regulated by your agencies do not protect any ‘right to choose’ abortion coverage,” it continued. “In fact, they leave many Americans without a choice that fits both their health needs and respects their right of conscience. They deceive and compel Americans to pay for others’ elective abortions. This is unconscionable and within your power to correct.”
Although federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortion services, ADF says that Obamacare has provided a loophole through allowing insurance companies to collect the surcharge, which is then pooled and used for abortion coverage. As a result, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Family Research Council have created a website to assist Americans with identifying whether or not their particular insurance plan covers abortion and thus extracts the surcharge.
Obamacareabortion.com outlines that in 2014, five states did not provide any abortion-free insurance plans: Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. It believes that the number will almost double in the year ahead.
“In 2014, 95% of the plans on the New York exchange included abortion on demand,” the site explains. ” In 2015, at least 14 of the 16 insurance carriers [will] provide elective abortion coverage.” It notes that Empire Blue Cross and Fidelis are the only two companies in the state that do not cover abortion and are therefore not using any surcharges for this purpose.
As a way to avoid paying for abortions, some are opting to become members of health sharing ministries, which is a permitted exemption to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to purchase insurance. Medi-Share, Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries are the three companies that Christians may join as alternatives under the law.
A number of states, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arkansas and North Dakota, have also passed laws banning insurance companies from covering abortion in their plans.