When a pro-life family in Connecticut found that their state Obamacare exchange only offered plans that included abortion coverage, they filed a lawsuit against federal and state officials because they could not purchase a plan that did not require its participants to pay for the elective abortions of others. Last month, the Bracy Family dismissed its lawsuit after the addition of health plans to the exchange that will not require them to pay for abortions.
The Barth and Abbie Bracy Family of Dayville, Connecticut on the Rhode Island border, were forced onto the state’s Obamacare exchange when their health insurance plan was cancelled in October of 2013 along with those of many other Americans.
“We liked our insurance plan and wanted to keep it, but couldn’t because it was cancelled due to Obamacare,” Bracy told Breitbart News during an interview that included his attorney, Senior Counsel Casey Mattox of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represented the family in the lawsuit.
Bracy, who is the executive director of Rhode Island State Right to Life, said that after his insurance was cancelled, he looked at Connecticut’s Access Health CT Obamacare exchange to see which plans would not cover elective abortions.
“Even though Obamacare specifies that plans that do not offer abortions must be listed, I couldn’t find any information,” he explained.
“Barth is incredibly well-informed about abortion coverage,” Mattox told Breitbart News, “yet even he couldn’t find any information about it in the Connecticut exchange or figure out how to readily get it. Finally, he learned that all the plans covered abortion.”
“It’s easier to find IRS emails than to find out if your health insurance covers abortion,” joked Mattox. “You need a working knowledge of the Hyde Amendment and you need to be like Barth Bracy and look to see if every month you’re paying into a fund to pay for other people’s abortions.”
In fact, in October of last year, then-Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius told members of Congress that she did not know if she could provide Americans with a list of which plans fund abortions when they enroll in the exchanges.
Bracy explained that because federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion, Obamacare requires every exchange health insurance plan that includes abortion to collect a separate “abortion surcharge” fee to pay for these procedures. The surcharge, however, is not enumerated in the premium but is, instead, added to the total.
“It must be a separate fee collected from each enrollee each month,” he continued. “But, nobody is doing that and they’re not following the law.”
In September, the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) reported that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its account of 1,036 federally subsidized health insurance plans that cover elective abortions.
“[I]nsurance consumers were frequently not informed of this coverage before enrolling; and plan issuers are not billing elective abortion coverage separately despite a legal requirement,” said CLI. “The report also makes public for the first time a complete list identifying every plan by name that covers elective abortion and those that do not in the states that permit coverage on the insurance exchanges.”
“There’s lots of secrecy and confusion about coverage of abortion in the Obamacare exchange plans,” Mattox continued. “Four states still require all plans to cover abortion and have an abortion surcharge: Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, and Hawaii.”
According to ADF, “All plans nationwide that include abortion coverage require the surcharge, but the ACA [Obamacare] requires that it not be separately disclosed in the bill.”
“If everyone who signed on to the Obamacare exchanges were to get a bill for an ‘abortion surcharge,’ that would make a huge difference,” Mattox said. “People would not sign up for plans and there would be transparency.”
Mattox went on to explain that in the Bracys’ case, the stipulation from Connecticut was that at least two and up to four health insurance plans on the exchange would not have the abortion surcharge. Subsequently, ADF, on behalf of the Bracys, voluntarily dismissed the case.
Additionally, Mattox said Americans should be aware that, in half of the states, including Connecticut, people have already been in exchange insurance plans, and paying for abortions, for a year.
“These people have a right to have money refunded to them and the right to have the surcharge stopped,” he said. “Americans have the right to protect their own family’s health without paying for other peoples’ abortions.”
Bracy said he believes the best recourse for all Americans who do not wish to pay for abortions is for Congress to pass Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act.”
“Under Obamacare, billions of dollars in the form of tax credits are today buying abortion-subsidizing health insurance plans in exchanges throughout the country,” said Smith when he announced his bill. “For example, of the 112 health insurance plans available to members of Congress and staff, most, that is, 103 plans pay for abortion on demand.”
“Americans should not have to pay a special fee for other people’s abortions in order to take care of their own family’s health,” said Mattox. “The Bracy family has experienced first-hand the kind of deception that was used to pass and that continues to pervade this law.”