Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

Broken Obamacare promises, abortion edition

"And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up -- under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place." -- remarks by President Obama to a joint session of Congress, Sept. 9, 2009

"(A) new GAO study shows that, instead, taxpayers are subsidizing abortions. Customers in five states have no abortion-free plans available to them, and in many states, customers can't tell which plans cover abortion and which don't." -- report by the Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney, Sept. 15, 2014

Bart Stupak , call your office.

The GAO study to which Carney's story refers, which you can read here , shows a broad disregard by federal and state agencies for the types of promises Obama and other Democrats made about taxpayer funding of abortions during the Obamacare debate -- not to mention the executive order Obama signed to that effect. In 19 states plus the District of Columbia (including Georgia) at least some Obamacare plans offered on health-insurance exchanges cover abortion outside the exceptions permitted in the law for rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother. The study delineates states according to whether they have passed laws expressly banning such coverage, but that would seem to be rather immaterial when it comes to the use of federal tax dollars governed by federal laws and executive orders.

In some states, the number of plans offering such "non-excepted" abortion services are relatively low: two of 129 in Texas and nine of 78 in Georgia, although the latter figure still represents a not-insignificant ratio of roughly 1-in-9. But in others, coverage is more the rule than the exception: 86 of 90 in California, 109 of 111 in Massachusetts, 405 of 426 in New York. The choices are scarce for insurance shoppers who don't want their plan to cover abortion -- and, in turn, to subsidize the abortions of others on their plans.

Invariably, some of the people who choose these plans are going to have their entire premiums covered by federal taxpayers, which makes a mockery of the assurances given to anti-abortion Democrats like Stupak. And even among those who are paying part of their premium, the statutory obligation to bill consumers for services that aren't supposed to be subsidized, including abortion, was often being ignored:

"Fifteen issuers and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange -- which bills enrollees on behalf of issuers offering (Qualified Health Plans) in the state-based exchange ... did not itemize the premium amount associated with non-excepted abortion services coverage on enrollees' bills nor indicate that they send a separate bill for that premium amount."

Another Obamacare promise whose expiration date has passed.

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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.