GAO: Obamacare Funding Abortion on Demand at Taxpayer Expense

By Penny Starr | September 16, 2014 | 7:39 AM EDT

In this March 23, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - President Obama promised that under his health care plan, "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion," but that's just another broken promise, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, which indicates that public funding of abortion is happening on a large scale.

“This confirms what we have long suspected,” Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.

Pitts and other Republicans asked the GAO to find out which taxpayer-subsidized plans in the Obamacare exchanges fund abortion and if consumers know about that coverage.

The report concluded that in 2014, more than a thousand federally subsidized Obamacare policies paid for abortion on demand, sometimes unbeknownst to policyholders. And in five states, every plan offered on the exchanges included abortion on demand, giving consumers no alternative, as required by law.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said the revelations defy both the longstanding Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion, and the promises made by President Barack Obama.

"In an 11th hour ploy to garner a remnant of pro-life congressional Democrats absolutely needed for passage of Obamacare, the president issued an executive order on March 24, 2010 that said: 'the Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to newly created health insurance exchanges'," said Smith, who is co-chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.

"It turns out that those ironclad promises made by the President himself are absolutely untrue," Smith said.

The report is based on data from the 28 states that do not restrict abortion coverage in their exchanges.

Nationally, 1,036 taxpayer-subsidized health plans offered in those 28 states cover abortion on demand and 1,062 health plans do not.

In five of those 28 states (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont), all taxpayer-subsidized "qualified health plans” (QHPs) cover elective abortion.

In 15 of the 28 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and including the District of Columbia) some plans cover elective abortion.

In eight of the 28 states (Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wyoming), no plans cover elective abortion.

Other GAO findings:

-- In New York, 405 of 426 Obamacare plans subsidize abortion on demand;
-- In California, 86 of 90 Obamacare plans subsidize abortion on demand;
-- In Massachusetts, 109 0f 111 Obamacare plans subsidize abortion on demand;
-- In Oregon, 92 of 102 Obamacare plans subsidize abortion on demand;
-- In Washington, D.C., 23 of 34 Obamacare plans subsidize abortion on demand;

The GAO report also addresses lawmakers’ concern that consumers do not know whether the policy they buy pays for abortion on demand.

Under Obamacare, policy holders are required to pay a separate abortion surcharge, which is supposed to be segregated from federal subsidies that pay for other medical services.

But, as Rep. Smith noted, the GAO report found that the "accounting trick...is being completely ignored," as only one out of the 18 insurers reviewed by GAO was separately itemizing the abortion surcharge.

Smith said the surcharge, if properly implemented, "would have added some modicum of transparency so individuals would know whether they are purchasing a pro-life or pro-abortion health insurance plan."

"Americans throughout the country have raised serious concerns that they find it nearly impossible to determine whether the plan they purchase finances the killing of unborn children -- there is little or no transparency -- hence the request by several members of Congress, including Speaker Boehner, that GAO investigate," Smith said.

In its response to the GAO report, the Department of Health and Human Services said it "appreciates the information," and it will "use this information to address issues of concern in the appropriate manner." That may include "additional guidance" to policy-issuers, HHS said.

When asked by CNSNews.com about what could be done to remedy the report’s findings, Pitts said the Senate should take up the legislation already passed by the House, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2014” (H.R. 7).