The Corner

This Obamacare Thing Is Bad News, Continued

Did anyone else notice the Department of Health and Human Services rule that was finalized yesterday? It establishes state health-care exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And an abortion premium mandate.

Dorinda Bordlee and Nik Nikas call the health-care law’s individual mandate a “Russian nesting doll.” You keep opening and going deeper and finding more pernicious details.

Bordlee and the Bioethics Defense Fund filed a brief last month in the individual-mandate case the Supreme Court will be taking up later this month on just this.

As one Hill aide breaks it down:

To comply with the accounting requirement, plans will collect a $1 abortion surcharge from each premium payer.  The enrollee will make two payments, $1 per month for abortion and another payment for the rest of the services covered.  As described in the rule, the surcharge can only be disclosed to the enrollee at the time of enrollment.  Furthermore, insurance plans may only advertise the total cost of the premiums without disclosing that enrollees will be charged a $1 per month fee to pay directly subsidize abortions.

The final rule mentions, but does not address concerns about abortion coverage in “multi-state” plans administered by the Federal Government’s Office of Personal Management (OPM).  There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act to prevent some OPM (government administered) plans from covering elective abortion, and questions remain about whether OPM multi-state plans will include elective abortion.  If such plans do include abortion, there are concerns that the abortion coverage will even be offered in states that have prohibited abortion coverage in their state exchanges. The final rule indicates “Specific standards for multi-state plans will be described in future rulemaking published by OPM…”

You can read it yourself here as filed in the Federal Register by our U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The rule finalized yesterday provides for taxpayer funding of insurance coverage that includes elective abortion through an accounting trick. Under this rule, HHS mandates that insurance companies that cover abortion have a separate line item on each enrollee’s bill — regardless of age, sex, or family status — for elective abortions. As Bordlee has explained, in this now-finalized mandate within a mandate, “The government is not paying for it, you are paying for it. We are forced by federal law to pay into this abortion premium fund. It is a shell game where the government doesn’t pay for the abortion, we do.”

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