Conservatives in Congress are taking President Obama to task for breaking a promise to Americans, if not outright lying, that taxpayers’ money won’t pay for abortions under Obamacare.
“Clearly, in this case, the administration lied to the American people,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, said Thursday during Conversations with Conservatives, a group of free market and liberty-minded House members who meet each month with reporters.
In 2009, promoting the Affordable Care Act to Congress and the American public, President Obama pointedly said: “No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
But after a new report from the Government Accountability Office showed that assertion to be wrong, conservatives weren’t shy in calling out Obama.
“In my opinion, the president and [former Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius knew full well that Obamacare plans would be funding abortion,” Huelskamp said.
In addition to finding that taxpayer money does, in fact, go to fund insurance plans that cover elective abortions, the GAO report shows that under Obamacare it is extremely difficult for consumers to figure out which plans do not cover abortions in the first place.
“The GAO report shows that Obamacare is hiding the ball when it comes to abortion coverage,” said Sarah Torre, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation who closely follows developments on Obamacare and abortion.
Americans who would otherwise object to paying for abortion coverage may not even be aware that they’re signing up for a plan that includes elective abortion. They often have to dig through a summary of benefits materials, pore over insurers’ websites, or call insurers directly, hoping to find an answer. In some cases, as insurers admitted to the GAO, individuals might not know their plan covers elective abortion until they’re already enrolled.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also among those attending Conversations With Conservatives, said: “Most Americans don’t want their tax dollars used for this, and we need to make sure that they can plainly see that.”
Americans, Jordan told The Daily Signal later, should “know with certainty that their tax dollars aren’t being used to take the lives of the unborn.”
Jordan, who sits on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is a co-sponsor of H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding Abortion Act. It would ensure that no federal funds could be used to pay for abortion or health benefit plans that cover abortion, including those offered through Obamacare insurance exchanges.
In recent days, Jordan and other pro-life House conservatives pressed the Senate to pass versions of H.R. 7 and another bill (H.R. 3279). The second bill would amend Obamacare to require insurance issuers that include elective abortion coverage on exchange plans to prominently display that fact in marketing and enrollment materials.
The new GAO report also “highlights and underscores the problems with Obamacare in general,” Jordan said.
“We’ve had this for a year—we’ve had so many sections of it waived, it’s why this law [the Affordable Care Act] needs to go away.”
Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, had his own sarcastic take on Obama’s 2009 pledge.
“Obama lie about Obamacare?” he asked at the lawmakers’ gathering with reporters. “That would have never happened, I’m sorry.”