On July 13 the pro-life world went ballistic after the National Right to Life Committee revealed that the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan DHHS had approved for PA included federal funding for abortion.
Backing up, per Obamacare, every state must either create its own PCIP, aka “high risk pool,” or implement the federal PCIP, to provide temporary health insurance people who do not presently qualify for individual health insurance due to a preexisting condition….
29 states plus the District of Columbia have elected to write their own PCIPs. The other 21 states have elected to let DHHS run their programs directly. The 2 groups are listed here.
So PA was 1 of the 29 that created its own PCIP. As I explained July 14, while the PA PCIP stated it would not cover “elective abortions,” it stated it would cover abortions per a PA statute “in the light of all factors (physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age) relevant to the well-being of the woman,” – i.e., the US Supreme Court’s infamous abortion “health” exception that basically allows abortion on demand.
Again, DHHS approved PA’s PCIP.
After pro-lifers created an uproar, DHHS spokesperson Jenny Backus released a hasty statement July 13 claiming the law and Obama’s executive order didn’t allow what NRLC claimed:
Under the Affordable Care Act and the President’s related Executive Order, federal funds made available to states for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan may not be used to fund abortion. We will reiterate this policy in guidance to those running the [PCIP] at both the state and federal levels.
As NRLC’s Doug Johnson told me this morning, “The first sentence of that statement was flatly erroneous. There is nothing whatsoever in the Affordable Care Act to prevent the use of the PCIP funds for abortion. And the EO does not even mention the PCIP program.”
In fact, Obama’s EO only addressed abortion funding for 2 components of Obamacare: 1) the “prohibitions on abortion funding in health insurance exchanges,” a scheme pro-lifers oppose to federally subsidize plans that cover abortion but collect separate abortion payments from women who want that coverage; and 2) a prohibition against community health centers using federal Obamacare funds for abortion. Read for yourself.
DHHS, realizing its contention was false, issued a revised statement July 14, below. “Bachus did not repeat that 2-pronged erroneous claim but adopted a a quite different formulation,” Johnson wrote in a follow-up email.
As is the case with FEHB [Federal Employees Health Benefits] plans currently, and with the Affordable Care Act and the President’s related Executive Order more generally, in PA and in all other states abortions will not be covered in the… PCIP except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.
Our policy is the same for both state and federally-run PCIP programs. We will reiterate this policy in guidance to those running the [PCIP] at both the state and federal levels. The contracts to operate the [PCIP] include a requirement to follow all federal laws and guidance.
“Thus, Backus no longer asserts that the bill or the EO prohibit abortion funding in the PCIP program,” wrote Johnson, “but presents the to-be-implemented policy as consistent with various precedents. Media reports indicate that the newly announced policy will be communicated to the states within a couple of weeks.”
If you’ve been able to follow what I’ve written so far, you’ll next understand why pro-aborts are angry and why they are saying what they are saying. The jig is already up. The 1st hole that allows federally funded abortions via Obamacare has already been discovered. As Jessica Arons on RH Reality Check admitted yesterday, “But here’s the catch, nothing in federal law actually restricts the use of federal or state money for abortion in PCIPs.”
Right. As pro-lifers have been saying all along, federal funding of abortions are allowed in Obamacare. The Stupak Amendment would have provided a comprehensive fix. That is why pro-aborts opposed it. That is why NARAL sent this email yesterday (click to enlarge):
And that is why the National Women’s Law Center issued this email today (click to enlarge):
Meanwhile we have liberal Obama defenders touting the opposite message, “See? Abortion funding isn’t in Obamacare.” – a message pro-abort groups know is false. In fact, pro-abort groups are furious that Obama – when caught – is rising to a higher standard than the actual law allows. But headlines evidencing the amazingly mixed messaging currently emanating from the other side are fun to read…
There will be hundreds, if not thousands of ways to include federally funded abortions in Obamacare, I said above that 29 states have devised their own PCIPs. Only 2 have been made public – PA’s and NM’s. And guess what? NM’s PCIP included elective abortions. The Catholic News Agency reported yesterday that NM has now backed down, just as PA did. Pro-lifers are going to have to comb through every document – which, in the case of PCIPs, the feds are being slow to release – to find these loopholes.
For the rest of his life, even when out of office, Bart Stupak is going to have to step in and either fix the problems we find or admit he was wrong, as will all the other pro-life Democrats who voted for Obamacare with the promise of Obama’s EO. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.
Meanwhile, Obama has boxed himself into a corner on this. Whenever his lies about Obamacare are exposed, he’s going to have to fix them or renege on his promise that abortion funding isn’t included in his healthcare plan.