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Young joins fight against subsidizing abortion

Staff report

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) joined 13 of his Senate colleagues, Wednesday, to encourage the Trump administration to move forward with a final rule that would ensure pro-life consumers enrolled in Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans aren’t subsidizing abortion services.

In a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, the Senators expressed their support for an HHS rule on ACA Section 1303. Young and his colleagues believe the rule, titled “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity,” would require policy holders to submit separate payments for basic insurance and additional coverage for abortion.

“The proposed rule aligns with the clear meaning and congressional intent of Section 1303 by eliminating the hidden abortion surcharge in many ACA plans,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

Federal law only allows for public dollars to be spent on abortions for extreme circumstances, and Marketplace plans detail whether their plans include these charges, although the senators claim that these fees are hidden. 

According to federal reports, “Federal law prohibits federal funds, including Marketplace premium tax credits, from being used for abortion services except in the limited cases of rape, incest, or if a woman suffers from a life-threatening physical injury or illness that would place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed. Marketplace health plans may cover abortion services in different ways: abortion coverage, with some restrictions; abortion coverage for services that cannot be paid for with federal dollars (known as “non-Hyde” abortion services); No abortion coverage.”

The Senators also strongly encouraged HHS to strengthen the final rule to clarify the illegality of the Obama administration’s interpretation of ACA Section 1303.

“The meaning of Section 1303 is straightforward and congressional intent is clear,” the senators wrote. “We are concerned that the proposed rule’s analysis fails to adequately acknowledge the illegality of the prior regulation. We ask that the final rule directly addresses this concern.”

In addition to Senator Young, the letter was signed by Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).