In a move that sends the message that her role is a powerful one, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has required health insurers to include Planned Parenthood as an “essential community provider” along with other doctors and health facilities in their networks.
Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner (WE) reports that most of Planned Parenthood’s 750 health and abortion clinics in the country will be covered by ObamaCare. Sebelius’ command means that health insurers who wish to participate in the state health care exchanges must cover services by Planned Parenthood, as well as other “essential community providers,” such as AIDS clinics, pain management facilities, and alternative medicine providers.
“We’ve never covered these sorts of things,” a Wisconsin insurer told the WE.
HHS has provided what is called a “non-exhaustive list” of essential community providers–targeted primarily to low-income Americans–to assist health insurers in their search. Approximately 480 Planned Parenthood facilities are included on the HHS list, along with 100 AIDS clinics, family planning clinics, teen services, lesbian and gay centers, high school clinics, and prisons.
Though ObamaCare is not, technically speaking, supposed to cover abortions, the fact that Planned Parenthood has always had significant support from Sebelius, and is already an important player in the “navigator system”–assisting insurance advisers in signing Americans up for the exchanges–is a real concern for Americans seeking limited government and those who are pro-life.
The phrase, “The Secretary shall…,” in President Obama’s signature health care legislation is clearly making an impact already. Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, writing at LifeSiteNews, states, “Unfortunately for Americans, Sebelius–not Congress–decides what belongs in state exchanges. And if her past relationships are any indication, taxpayers are in for even more surprises when ObamaCare goes into effect January 1.”