Con­fronting abor­tion pre­mium man­date

Oba­macare will force many to sub­si­dize cul­ture of death

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - By Mary Harned

When the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral ar­gu­ments this week on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of var­i­ous pro­vi­sions in the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act, one of the most bla­tantly un­con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions didn’t get any at­ten­tion in oral ar­gu­ments or the press. At least it hasn’t so far. The is­sue in ques­tion is the abor­tion pre­mium man­date. Be­gin­ning in 2014, this man­date will force mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing those who are pro-life, to pay di­rectly into an abor­tion fund. How does this work? This il­lus­tra­tion paints the picture:

You have just ac­cepted a new job. You’re thrilled to find out that your em­ployer will heav­ily sub­si­dize health in­sur­ance for you and your fam­ily, and that the plan he of­fers in­cludes many ex­cel­lent health care providers in your area. In fact, a mem­ber of your fam­ily has a spe­cial med­i­cal need, and the doc­tor in your town who is best able to care for her par­tic­i­pates in your new plan’s net­work.

How­ever, as you pe­ruse in­for­ma­tion on your new plan upon en­roll­ment, you stum­ble upon a star­tling fact. In the fine print, you read that you will be pay­ing two pre­mi­ums for your in­sur­ance and that one pre­mium will be used solely for abortions. You do not want abor­tion cov­er­age — in fact, abor­tion is against your be­liefs.

You promptly men­tion this to your em­ployer, and he is sur­prised. He did not know that the plan he se­lected for his em­ploy­ees — from your state’s health in­sur­ance ex­change es­tab­lished by Oba­macare — re­quires an abor­tion pre­mium pay­ment. Af­ter all, the abor­tion pre­mium was not men­tioned in any of the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided to him about the plan. How­ever, he does not want to shop for an­other plan. Even if he does, he may se­lect an­other plan that cov­ers abortions, given that he did not know about the abor­tion cov­er­age the first time around.

You ask if you can be ex­empted from the abor­tion pre­mium pay­ment. The an­swer? No. So, what do you do? To buy health in­sur­ance on your own would be pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive, and your em­ployer’s plan pro­vides ex­cel­lent care that your fam­ily needs. But you are now go­ing to be pay­ing di­rectly into an abor­tion fund for other en­rollees. If you choose to forgo health in­sur­ance cov­er­age, you will be fined by the gov­ern­ment un­der Oba­macare.

Sound too ridicu­lous to be pos­si­ble? In­cred­i­bly, this is ex­actly how the abor­tion pre­mium man­date will work. In­sur­ance plans that cover abortions may par­tic­i­pate in state ex­changes and re­ceive fed­eral sub­si­dies. To main­tain the il­lu­sion that this ar­range­ment does not amount to tax­payer sub­si­diza­tion of abor­tion, the law’s au­thors de­vised a scheme in which in­di­vid­u­als en­rolled in these plans must pay a sep­a­rate pre­mium that solely pays for abortions (i.e., be­cause the gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies can­not di­rectly pay for abortions). The law does not pro­vide a means for in­di­vid­u­als to opt-out of pay­ing the abor­tion pre­mium, and it pro­hibits plans from ad­ver­tis­ing that an abor­tion pre­mium is re­quired un­der their plan. As demon­strated in the il­lus­tra­tion above, it will not be easy — and will of­ten be im­pos­si­ble — for in­di­vid­u­als to choose a dif­fer­ent plan once they learn about the pre­mium upon en­roll­ment.

The abor­tion pre­mium man­date, par­tic­u­larly when paired with the forced pur­chase of in­sur­ance re­quired by Oba­macare’s in­di­vid­ual man­date, di­rectly vi­o­lates the con­science and free ex­er­cise rights of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans by im­pos­ing an un­con­sti­tu­tional bur­den on them within the pri­vate in­sur­ance mar­ket­place. Amer­i­cans United for Life joined lead coun­sel, Bioethics De­fense Fund and other pro-life or­ga­ni­za­tions in sub­mit­ting an am­i­cus cu­riae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court chal­leng­ing the abor­tion pre­mium man­date’s con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity.

No Amer­i­can should be forced by the gov­ern­ment to pay for abortions. We have en­tered a new realm of com­pelled abor­tion fund­ing — even be­yond tax­payer fund­ing for abortions. It is time for the Supreme Court to stand up for Amer­i­cans’ free ex­er­cise right to ob­ject to pay­ing for abortions — and af­firm that the ex­er­cise of that right should not re­sult in a gov­ern­ment penalty or lesser-qual­ity in­sur­ance cov­er­age.


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