Congressman Cloud Responds to Announcement of Finalized Abortion Surcharge Rule
Today, Congressman Michael Cloud applauded the Trump administration for finalizing a rule to end to the hidden abortion surcharge in many Obamacare plans that fund abortions.
Advocating for conscience protections within healthcare was one of Congressman Cloud’s earliest initiatives. Within the first month of being sworn into Congress he quickly began bringing attention to this issue by meeting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar, building a coalition in Congress, and regularly requesting status updates from HHS.
HHS today announced it would overturn the Obama-era rule which departed from the abortion transparency provisions codified by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The ACA 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.” They did this by allowing insurance providers to charge a single payment that covered the entire plan, rather than requiring a second payment for the abortion surcharge. This hid the abortion surcharge from enrollees, so that many who would have objected to it did not realize they were paying for it.
Thanks to today’s new rule, the law will be interpreted as it was originally intended, providing transparency for payees.
“This is a victory for American taxpayers as we ensure their hard earned dollars aren’t unknowingly used to pay for another person’s abortion,” said Congressman Cloud. “It’s another big step by President Trump and his administration to protect life and the rights of conscience of American taxpayers.”
This is a huge victory after more than a year of effort by Congressman Cloud and other pro-life members of Congress to draw attention to this abortion transparency issue. Congressman Cloud first sent a letter to HHS in August of 2018 followed by subsequent letters in January, July, and October of 2019.
In July, Representative Cloud and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, along with 25 Senators and 103 Representatives, signed a letter urging swift action to end the hidden abortion surcharge and require compliance with the plain meaning of the ACA. A copy of the letter is available here.
HHS information on the final rule is available here.