A pro-life family won’t be forced by Obamacare to pay for others’ abortions through a “secret fee” after all.
Barth and Abbie Bracy, who have four children, filed a lawsuit earlier this year against government officials, arguing that they failed to offer health insurance plans that didn’t cover elective abortions.
The Connecticut couple voluntarily dismissed their suit against federal and state officials after the state added options under Obamacare that, for the first time in Connecticut, will not require participants to pay for others’ abortions.
“While we are pleased that Connecticut families will now have a choice to avoid paying this abortion surcharge, it is a shame that other families won’t have that choice, and that most Americans don’t even know that they must pay this secret fee,” said Casey Mattox, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization that represented the Bracys.
That “secret fee” was uncovered in a Sept. 15 report by the Government Accountability Office, which found that more than 1,000 Obamacare plans cover abortion while remaining eligible for tax subsidies.
Federal law forbids taxpayer subsidies for elective abortions. The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, requires every plan that covers elective abortions to collect a separate fee used exclusively to pay for those abortions. That requirement was the government’s attempt to prevent tax dollars, as Obama promised, from directly funding abortion.
The GAO report found that many insurers were failing to collect from policyholders the required separate payment for abortion coverage.
“The severe lack of transparency in Obamacare plans continues to leave many consumers unaware that they could be signing up for a plan that includes abortion coverage,” said Sarah Torre, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation who closely follows the issue of Obamacare and abortion. Torre added:
Worse, the health care law requires that insurance companies offering elective abortion coverage collect a separate premium of at least $12 a year from individuals to cover the procedures. No one should be forced to pay a hidden surcharge that’s used to pay for others’ abortions.
After the Bracys’ insurance company dropped them from their private plan, they discovered that Connecticut offered no health insurance options for citizens who object to paying for abortions, forcing them to violate their pro-life, religious beliefs.
Although Connecticut added plans acceptable to the Bracys to its online insurance marketplace under Obamacare, four other states highlighted in the GAO report have yet to offer plans that don’t include abortion coverage. That leaves pro-life families in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont and Hawaii to face situations similar to that of the Bracys.
The Bracys, who are Catholic, see themselves as an example of Americans who feel deceived by Obama, who back in 2009 promised: “[U]nder our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”
Barth Bracy works as executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life, a 45-minute commute from the family’s home in Dayville, Conn.
He met his wife Abbie during a 15-year stint in the Philippines as a missionary. Today he serves as a deacon at the family’s local church.
“God is the center of our individual and family lives,” Bracy told The Daily Signal in an earlier interview regarding the family’s pro-life views and opposition to the abortion surcharge.
To truly protect individuals and families, Heritage’s Torre said, Congress should repeal Obamacare and move forward with “real health care reform.” She said:
Americans deserve a health care system that increases access, decreases costs and allows individuals and families to choose health care without subsidizing life-ending procedures.
To address remaining issues of transparency in Obamacare’s 2015 open enrollment period, which began Nov. 15, the Family Research Council teamed up with the Charlotte Lozier Institute to make information about abortion coverage clearly available in this state-by-state map.