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.
What kind of game is this administration playing?
It's like getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar and then they back-pedal?Posted by: RSD at July 16, 2010 12:12 PM
I don't think it's a game, RSD. I think this is the loophole proaborts wanted in order to challenge funding in the courts. I view their outrage as feigned to provide him with a little political cover.
I think it's interesting that HHS isn't issuing its guidelines for women's preventive health care for another 13 months. They're waiting until after the midterms and giving proaborts time to make their case in the courts before determining whether to include abortion as essential preventive health care that must be covered.Posted by: Fed Up at July 16, 2010 12:49 PM
Watch what happens after November. They got caught lying - and they'll just wait it out until some new crisis blows this one over. Eventually everything they want will be put in place - unless there is overwhelming rejection of abortion across the board by a super majority.
I don't see that happening. Abortion is a wedge issue that's dividing the country.
Ultimately, people don't care whether he was lying or not. When things get mired down in complexity (When you lack brilliance, baffle them with BS...) their eyes glaze over and they go back to asking - what's in it for me?
It's the government equivalent of the old cup and balls magic trick.Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 16, 2010 1:09 PM
And it should not be lost on anyone that Jill Stanek may just be the one and only person adequately covering this huge story in the entire country.Posted by: Sean at July 16, 2010 1:16 PM
You know, Randall Terry got on his soapbox the other day and made a few critical comments of the webcast last Saturday. I missed it so I'm in no place to pass judgment. I'm sure it encouraged and provided good information to a lot of people.
Randall's point, if I understood him correctly, was that there wasn't enough passion or discussion about getting more involved in public demonstrations or civic disobedience as seen in the battle for civil rights.
I agree with you Sean that the coverage here is excellent and comprehensive, and that we all have our place. Not everyone is called to serenade Kagen with a bullhorn dressed like the Grim Reaper.
That said, I think he makes a good point.
I just wish more people, church pastors and leaders in particular, would "shout from the housetops" about the horrific injustice and atrocity that abortion is.
Where is the righteous indignation?
Where is the rage?
Perhaps we'll have to see God demonstrate His righteous indignation toward our nation before we aggressively confrom the culture of death with boldness and a fighting spirit.Posted by: Ed at July 16, 2010 2:24 PM
Perhaps we'll have to see God demonstrate His righteous indignation toward our nation before more of us aggressively confrom the culture of death with boldness and a fighting spirit.Posted by: Ed at July 16, 2010 2:26 PM
"confront" the culture of death
(rushing)Posted by: Ed at July 16, 2010 3:06 PM
Well, Obama could always pull a Bill clinton and just drop bombs somewhere new whenever he is caught with his pants down so to speak. And Obama has definitely been caught in bed with the abortion industry. Americans better not let him off the hook.Posted by: Sydney M. at July 16, 2010 3:19 PM
Would the highest recorded earthquake rocking Washington DC in recorded history be enough proof of God's indignation OR is this just a mere coincidence?Posted by: RSD at July 16, 2010 3:40 PM
I've just got to say, this piece is excellent. And that clip art you selected, "Abortion is NOT Health Care" is perfect. Just like the right seasoning on a gourmet meal, it adds punch to your article. It's bold, adamant, almost combative (which I like).
I love it.
I don't know what would be the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize up in Heaven, but whatever it is...
you just won one.Posted by: Ed at July 16, 2010 3:43 PM
the highest recorded earthquake rocking Washington DC...
It's Bush's fault. (Fault, earthquake, get it?)Posted by: Fed Up at July 16, 2010 4:03 PM
LOL Fed Up. Yep the whole mess is G.W's fault even the earthquake.
If abortion is NOT in the bill in the first place why are the pro-aborts like NARAL and National Women's Law Center so upset when BHO changes it? Makes no sense. Duh.Posted by: Prolifer L at July 17, 2010 1:49 PM
Excerpted from a broadcast email from Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3)on 16 July, one of the pro-life Democrats responsible for the quick Adminstration clarification:
"When I voted for health-care back in March, I did so with the complete confidence and understanding that no federal funds will be used for elective abortions under the new health-care law. Let me repeat: No federal funds will be used for elective abortions under this new health-care law. That is unequivocal. There is no wiggle-room here. Not a dime of federal tax dollars can be used for elective abortions under this new health-care law in Pennsylvania or any state.
"In a statement I released Thursday, I called on Secretary Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services to make absolutely clear to the states that any federally funded insurance plan or program will not include elective abortion whatsoever. HHS must also make it perfectly clear that violating federal law regarding abortion funding will have consequences. Like I said, this ban is unequivocal regarding the use of federal funds for elective abortions. If a state does not uphold that ban in a federally-funded health care plan, that state should not be a recipient of federal funds for that program.
"In a statement released by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, this point is reaffirmed in clear and concise language:
'Pennsylvania will – and has always intended to – comply with the federal ban on abortion funding in the coverage provided through our federally funded high risk pool. This program will provide much-needed assistance for the sickest of the sick. The likelihood that any of those covered will seek abortion services is remote, but if they do need such services, they will have to pay for them out their own pocket.
'Our pending contract with Health and Human Services (HHS) makes it crystal clear that we will 'operate the Program in compliance with federal law and the forthcoming final federal regulations.' This has always meant that the existing federal ban on abortion funding would be followed, with the restrictions that permit abortion services in the instance of rape, incest or endangering the mother.'"