GOP Misinformation Machine Goes into High Gear on Senate Langage on Abortion

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GOP Misinformation Machine Goes into High Gear on Senate Langage on Abortion

Jodi Jacobson

GOP smear and misinformation campaign goes into high-gear on abortion in Senate bill. Here are some of the actual facts.

In case you thought you were safe…..

The GOP smoke, mirrors and misinformation campaign has geared up its attacks on the Senate bill focusing on… guessed it….misinformation about coverage of abortion care.

A post being circulated from the GOP Leader Blog states “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new “abortion premium” fee on Americans in the government-run plan.”

Let’s do a Fiction v. Fact Analysis here:

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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FICTION: The GOP blog states:

Beginning on line 7, p. 118, section 1303 under “Voluntary Choice of Coverage of Abortion Services” the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run health plan. Leader Reid’s plan also requires that at least one insurance plan offered in the Exchange covers abortions (line 13, p. 120).

FACT: What the bill does say:

Abortion cannot be a mandated benefit as part of a minimum benefits package. A qualified health plan would determine whether it will cover: a) no abortions or only those abortions allowed under Hyde (rape, incest and life endangerment) or b) abortions beyond those allowed by Hyde.

According to Senate aides:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Choices Act (PPAC) does not require health plans to cover abortion. No health plan will be required to cover abortions in their benefits package.

Just like in today’s private insurance market, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will not force or prohibit health plans from covering abortion. And no one will be forced to enroll in a plan that covers abortion services – individuals will be able to choose from a variety of plans in the Exchange which will include both pro-choice and pro-life plans.

This is in fact a change from past practice: In the current marketplace, there is no guarantee that a pro-life person can buy a policy that doesn’t offer abortion coverage.

FICTION: The GOP post states:

What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan. It’s right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under “Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.” The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services. [emphasis added].

Section 1303(a)(2)(C) describes the process in which the Health Benefits Commissioner is to assess the monthly premiums that will be used to pay for elective abortions under the government-run health plan and for those who are given an affordability credit to purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion through the Exchange. The Commissioner must charge at a minimum $1 per enrollee per month.


  • PPAC does not allow federal funds to be used for abortion care. Tax credits or cost sharing subsidies may not be used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is endangered.
  • Instead–and to ensure no federal dollars are used–private premiums will be segregated from public funds, and only private premiums could pay for abortion services beyond those permitted by the Hyde Amendment, the longstanding federal law governing abortion.

In other words, the bill goes out of its way to segregate private premiums that *might* be used to cover abortion care from public dollars.

And as I wrote this morning:

If the Secretary chooses to cover abortion services in the public plan beyond those allowed by Hyde, he/she must:

  • Guarantee compliance with the provision prohibiting the use of Federal funds to pay for abortions (beyond those allowed by Hyde);
  • Guarantee that, according to three different accounting standards, no Federal funds will be used; and
  • Take all necessary steps to ensure that the United States does not bear the insurance risk for abortions that do not meet the Hyde exceptions in the public plan.

And…you know there always is a little bit of hypocrisy mixed in with anything that comes from anti-choice misinformers.

Here’s today’s serving.

The GOP post claims that the Senate bill is a “monstrosity [and] an affront to the American people and drastically moves away from current policy.”


It not only preserves current law, but goes beyond current law. See our post here.

Again, from this morning’s post: “Abortions currently permitted by Hyde shall be covered in the Community Health Insurance Option to the same extent as they are under Medicaid (only cases of rape, incest and life endangerment).”

No change there, unless you also find the bogeyman under your bed, and think Harry Reid is implanting listening devices in your molars.

The GOP blog then goes on to declare:

The National Right to Life Committee has called the Reid abortion language “completely unacceptable.” The American people deserve more from their government than being forced to pay for abortion.

Well….just let’s remember that last week the Republican National Committee was caught with its proverbial pants down when it was discovered that its own health policy–under CIGNA–has covered abortion care for the past 18 years, AND that they had declined to sign a rider eliminating that coverage from their policy….for 18 years.

A Cigna spokesperson told Politico that: Our “products ‘are designed to meet the requirements of our individual employer clients. Employer clients are informed of the services covered and it is their choice to decide which benefits meet their needs.’”

And as was pointed out in Time, “As it happens, Focus on the Family provides its employees health insurance through Principal, an insurance company that covers ‘abortion services.’ A Focus spokeswoman confirmed the fact that the organization pays premiums to Principal, but declined to comment on whether that amounts to an indirect funding of abortion.”

Amy Sullivan wrote:

If health reform proposals have a fungibility problem, then Focus does as well. And if they don’t think they do have a fungibility problem, then it would be interesting to hear why they think the set-up proposed in health reform legislation is so untenable.”

Facts. They’re inconvenient when you just want to spew ideology.

Jus’ sayin….

Topics and Tags:

harry reid, health reform, Hyde, Pitts, Stupak