Biden Administration Attempting to Revert to Obamacare Rule that Violates the Law, Increases Taxpayer-Funded Abortion
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), today joined Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and 25 additional Senate colleagues in issuing a public comment letter today opposing the Biden Administration’s attempt to ignore congressional intent and the unequivocal legal requirements regarding abortion coverage offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra asks for the withdrawal of the Biden Administration’s proposed rule to eliminate a 2019 Trump-era rule and to allow combined payments for abortion coverage in taxpayer-funded Obamacare exchange plans, defying the unambiguous separate payment requirement in the ACA law.
“Abortion is not health care, and American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize it,” the Senators wrote in objecting to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Updating Payment Parameters, Section 1332 Waiver Implementing Regulations, and Improving Health Insurance Markets for 2022 and Beyond Proposed Rule.
“The Proposed Rule directly violates the express text, clear meaning, and Congressional intent of Section 1303. In construing ‘separate’ to mean ‘together,’ the Proposed Rule would illegally allow insurance companies to collect combined payments for elective abortion coverage, rather than separate payments as the law requires. The Proposed Rule also undermines consumer transparency and makes it harder for consumers to know whether their plan covers abortion, which may lead many to pay for abortions in violation of their consciences or religious beliefs,” the letter said.
The extensive letter reviews the separate payment and separate accounting requirements in the ACA, the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the provisions, and the Trump Administration’s efforts to follow the law. The letter also attacks “faulty reasoning” used by the Biden Administration to justify the proposed rule.
Finally, the senators take issue with the ramifications of the proposed rule as congressional Democrats intend to make permanent the increased taxpayer-funded subsidies for ACA exchange plans, without Hyde Amendment protections.
“The purpose and effect of the Proposed Rule, in tandem with partisan legislative efforts to expand the ACA, will be to increase taxpayer funding for abortion on demand, to the financial benefit of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry,” the letter said.
In addition to Risch, Hyde-Smith, and Daines, the letter was signed by Senators Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.).
Organizations supporting the senators’ effort include Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life, March for Life, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Americans United for Life, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the HHS Accountability Project scholars at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Read a copy of the signed letter here.