Sebelius Failed to Give Congressman List of Obamacare Plans That Don't Cover Abortion

By Michael W. Chapman | December 12, 2013 | 12:51pm EST

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

( – Although Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Oct. 30 that she would provide Congress with a list of the Obamacare plans in the federal health exchange that do not cover abortion, she has yet to do so and, testifying on Dec. 11, backed away from that pledge and urged consumers to just look at the plan benefits on the exchange website.

At the Oct. 30 hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce , Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) asked Seblius, “Can you provide for the committee the list of insurers in the federal exchange who do not offer, as part of their package, abortion coverage?”

During a somewhat heated back-and-forth, Sebelis said, “I think we can do that, sir,” and added, “I know that is the plan, I will get that information to you.”

Yet during a Dec. 11 House subcommittee hearing, Sebelius declined to say whether she would provide the list requested and instead urged lawmakers and consumers to just look at the benefits package for each plan on the Obamacare exchange websites.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Shimkus said,  “Madam Secretary, you promised last time you were here that you would provide me a national list of those who cover and those who do not cover abortion and abortion services. We have yet to receive that list.”

“Now, folks are shopping now,” said Shimkus.  “And I'll tell you, when we went through this last time, we received a call from my office from someone in the country who was pro-abortion, thanking me for the question because they want to know.”

Shimkus continued, “We need that list, Madam Secretary! And if they're shopping today, we need that list today. When will you provide that?”

Sebelius said,  “Sir, every plan lists plan benefits. And the one plan benefit that they must list by law is abortion services. So, as a shopper goes on, I would highly recommend that they look in the plan benefits section [to] check for the coverage they’re interested in.”

Shimkus: “Okay, last time I was here, I held up numerous policies that would not explain that. In essence, you promised to provide the list of those insurance plans! All we're asking is for you to keep your promise.”

Sebelius: “It's the summary of benefits and plans. I guess we could go on the--”

Shimkus: “Will you provide us a list?”

Sebelius: “I will ask the D.C.—”

Shimkus: “You promised last time!”

Sebelius:  “Sir, it is on the Web site.”

Shimkus:  “Will you promise -- if it's on the Web site, can you provide us a list? Can you provide us a list?”

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), acting chairman:  “Gentleman's time [is up] -- Madam Secretary, were you able to answer the gentleman's previous question? Able to complete your answer?

Sebelius: “Pardon me?”

Murphy:  “Were you able to really answer the question that the gentleman asked prior?”

Sebleius:  “I assume so.”

From there, the questioning over the abortion-coverage-Obamacare list ended and move to other issues addressed by Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.).

In an earlier, fractious exchange with Sebelius, Rep. Shimkus expressed frustration, saying, "This is why we're frustrated, because we just don't get the truth out of you."

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