Washington, D.C.—Yesterday, Congressman Cloud introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to withdraw a Biden administration regulation allowing combined payments for abortion coverage in taxpayer-funded Affordable Care Act (ACA) health exchange plans, which violates an unambiguous separate payment requirement in that law.
Congressman Cloud’s resolution expresses disapproval of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) final rule that repeals the separate billing requirements for abortion services as specifically mandated by Congress in Section 1303 of the ACA. The final rule eliminated a 2019 Trump-era rule on the separate billing requirement, which was enacted to align with the clear text of the ACA and ensure taxpayers who oppose abortion do not subsidize health exchange plans that provide abortion coverage.
As part of the Congressional Review Act, the introduction of Congressman Cloud’s resolution would kick-start the process for Congress to force the Administration to rescind the rule.
“American’s tax dollars must never be used to fund the horrific act of abortion,” Congressman Cloud said. “Unborn children have a right to life and taxpayer money must never be used to take that right away. The HHS final rule must be stopped as it would directly contradict our laws to force Americans across our nation, including many who would never support abortions, to subsidize plans that provide abortion with their hard-earned money. This is unacceptable and my resolution would prevent the Biden administration’s rule from taking place.”
Senators Hyde-Smith and Lankford are leading this effort in the Senate by introducing S.J.Res.43.
President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) departed from the federal government’s long-time practice of prohibiting direct taxpayer funding of elective abortions by providing taxpayer-funded subsidies to buy abortion-covering health insurance plans.
However, the law required anyone purchasing a plan to make two separate payments, one of which was known as an “abortion surcharge” and had to be deposited into a separate account that is used exclusively to pay for elective abortions. This would prevent taxpayer money from directly covering abortions and provide transparency by separating out the collection of the abortion surcharge for enrollees to see.
The Obama Administration, however, ignored the plain meaning of the law and interpreted “separate” to mean “together,” allowing insurance providers to collect a single payment while effectively hiding the abortion surcharge from enrollees without their knowledge.
In 2019, the Trump administration instituted a rule to separate the payments and billing to ensure transparency in ACA plans and elective abortion coverage.
The Biden Administration has now published a rule repealing the 2019 Trump-era rule to reallow insurers to collect payments for coverage of elective abortion and legitimate health care in a single combined payment, rather than as separate payments as the law requires.