Alexander-Murray Healthcare Deal ‘Second Largest Expansion of Federal Abortion Funding’

A healthcare policy analyst warns Republicans the “bipartisan” healthcare deal engineered by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) represents the “second largest expansion of federal abortion funding, behind only Obamacare itself.”

Christopher Jacobs, CEO of Juniper Research Group, writes at the Federalist:

Coming on a week when Senate Republican leaders seek to pass a budget precluding another attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, the Alexander-Murray deal would not only fail to advance the pro-life cause, it would, by extending subsidies to insurers who cover abortions, actively undermine it.

Jacobs explains that, unless Alexander directly adds the Hyde Amendment – which prohibits federal taxpayer funding for most abortions – to the bill, “the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers will be used to fund plans that cover abortion.”

“There is little reason to believe Murray would endorse such a restriction,” writes Jacobs. “If the Hyde Amendment restrictions apply to the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, then in order to receive said payments, it is likely insurers would have to stop offering abortion coverage on exchanges—an outcome Murray, and Democrats, would not wish to countenance.”

Jacobs observes the “bipartisan” bill would provide about $3 to $4 billion for the remainder of the current calendar year, and $10 to $11 billion for each of years 2018 and 2019.

“These significant sums would surely represent the second-largest expansion of federal abortion funding, behind only Obamacare itself,” he asserts.

With this in mind, the pro-life  Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced Wednesday its opposition to the “bipartisan” healthcare deal.

“The legislation proposed by Sens. Alexander and Murray would do nothing more than prop up Obamacare, the largest expansion of abortion on-demand since Roe,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “This is an inadequate, short-sighted approach which fails to address the abortion funding problems created by the health care overhaul.”

Dannenfelser continued:

Right now nearly 900 health care plans subsidized by taxpayer dollars cover abortion – forcing taxpayers to be complicit in the destruction of human life.

In no way does the Alexander-Murray bill fulfill Republicans’ campaign promise to repeal and replace the ACA. That’s why Congress must use reconciliation to address all of the issues, including abortion-funding, in Obamacare.

President Donald Trump spoke in opposition to the Alexander-Murray deal Wednesday, stating, “I won’t do anything to enrich the insurance companies because right now the insurance companies are being enriched.”

“They’ve been enriched by Obamacare like nothing anybody has ever seen before,” the president said.

The SBA List’s announcement of its opposition to the Alexander-Murray deal comes as the Trump administration has released a strategic plan for the years 2018-2022 that clearly asserts its pro-life guiding principle that life begins at conception.

“HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception,” the document located at the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states.

Trump has also recently fulfilled his promise to end the controversial Obamacare contraceptive mandate for Americans with religious or moral objections to providing contraception, sterilization procedures, and abortifacient drugs through health insurance plans.

Additionally, the Trump administration has said it “strongly supports” the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that now awaits a vote in the Senate following the House’s approval.

The bill would prohibit most abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy in the United States.

Dannenfelser says it is time for the United States to join the vast number of other nations that protect unborn babies from late-term abortion.

“The United States is one of only seven nations, including China and North Korea, that allow babies in the womb to be killed for any reason up until the moment of birth,” she observes. “Protecting unborn children after five months – more than halfway through pregnancy, a point when science shows they can feel the excruciating pain of late-term abortion – is compassionate and popular.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on the Pain-Capable bill, but has provided no timeframe for a vote.

The legislation is “supported by virtually all of my members, and we expect to have a vote on it at some point,” he said.

However, with only 52 GOP senators – and 60 votes needed for the bill’s approval – Republicans may be unlikely to convince eight of their Democratic colleagues to join with them to pass the measure. All 45 of the bill’s co-sponsors are Republicans. Three Democrats voted with Republicans in the House to pass the legislation.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who introduced the bill in the House, is urging McConnell to call for a straight up-or-down vote on the bill, asserting the Majority Leader has “stunningly allowed Democrats to use arcane Senate rules to gridlock this incredibly reasonable pro-life bill just as they were determined to gridlock a pro-life justice like Neil Gorsuch.”

“Mr. McConnell’s correct actions to force an up or down vote on Neil Gorsuch have demonstrated that the principled debate on this asinine 60-vote rule (that Democrats will change when they regain control) is now over,” Franks said.


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