Despite evidence that under ObamaCare many health insurance plans will force enrollees to fund abortions, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told members of Congress during testimony on Wednesday that she did not know if she could provide Americans with a list of which plans fund abortions when they enroll.
In response to a question by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) about whether she would ensure federal exchanges clearly identify health insurance policies that will provide abortions, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “Sir, I don’t know. I know exactly the issue you’re talking about. I will check and make sure that is clearly identifiable.”
If someone, a constituent of mine or someone in this country, has strongly-held pro-life views, can you commit to us to make sure that the federal exchanges that offer that are clearly identified so people can understand if they’re going to buy a policy that has abortion coverage or not, because right now you cannot make that determination.
When Shimkus asked for a “list of the insurers of the federal exchange who do not offer as part of their package abortion coverage,” Sebelius said, “I think we can do that, sir.”
Shimkus: “Well, you should be able to do it.”
Sebelius: “I… I just said.”
Shimkus: “No, you said ‘if’ we can do it.”
Sebelius: “No, I think we can do that is what I said.”
Shimkus: “I think, or I know we can do it?”
Sebelius: “Sir, I can’t tell you what I don’t know firmly right now. I know that is the plan, I will get that information to you.”
Steve Ertelt at LifeNews has reported regarding health insurance plans in Washington D.C.:
After I spoke to a representative from each insurance company within the D.C. exchange, I contacted the D.C. exchange, “D.C. Healthlink.” The representative was very cordial, introduced herself and asked how she could help. I inquired about whether, as a D.C. resident, I could purchase a plan that excluded elective abortion coverage. She replied that she thought all the plans covered abortion, but that she would check for me. I was put on hold and when she returned, she informed me that abortion was a “central benefit” and that “all qualified health plans” offered through the D.C. exchange are required to cover “preventative services,” which, in D.C., covers elective abortion, according to this representative.
ObamaCare, however, stipulates that at least one Multi-State Plan (MSP) offered in each state must not cover elective abortion (PPACA §1334(a)(6)).
Ertelt reported that Kaiser Permanente, nevertheless, also informed him that “abortion is covered under all individual and family plans offered in the D.C. exchange.”
In addition, when he contacted D.C. Healthlink, the capital city’s health exchange, to follow up, Ertelt said he was informed:
All D.C. health exchange plans, both private and MSP plans, require coverage of elective abortion as an “essential benefit.” If this statement is correct, then the MSPs in the District of Columbia are violating the provision of the ACA that requires at least one plan to not cover elective abortion.
When it was suggested by D.C. Healthlink that Ertelt visit healthcare.gov for more detailed information on “essential benefits,” he discovered that abortion is not on the list of “essential benefits.”
Thus, it appears that federally, elective abortion is not an “essential benefit,” although in D.C. it is. In fact, the ACA specifically states that nothing in the law “shall be construed to require a qualified health plan to provide coverage” of abortion services as part of its essential benefits and that issuers of qualified health plans make the final determination as to whether or not the plan provides abortion coverage (PPACA §1303 (a)(1)(A)(i) and (ii)). Since abortion is not covered in “essential services” on the federal healthcare site, linking to the healthcare.gov site on the D.C. exchange page is very misleading for the consumer.