Actually, 'Obamacare' Really Does Cover Abortions, Gov't Report Finds

Paper applications are available in lieu of using the website at a health care enrolment fair co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the State Employees Association at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, New Hampshire November 9, 2013. | (Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder)

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office showed that the Affordable Care Act, also called "Obamacare," is providing coverage for abortions.

Contrary to the claims of many proponents of the health care law, the GAO's Monday report found that the rules were not clarified and thus ignored.

The Affordable Care Act required that qualified health plans (QHPs) be provided that may include coverage of abortion services.

While officially the ACA should not cover abortions, except in the event of rape, incest, or health of the mother, the GAO found that 15 of 18 insurers providing QHPs ignored such rules.

"Of the 18 issuers offering QHPs that cover non-excepted abortion services from which we obtained information, all but three issuers indicated that the benefit is not subject to any restrictions, limitations, or exclusions," noted the GAO.

"These 18 issuers offered a total of 246 unique QHPs that covered non-excepted abortion services — or 24 percent of the total number of QHPs covering non-excepted abortion services in the 28 states with no laws restricting the circumstances under which abortion services can be provided as a covered benefit."

Throughout the debate over the ACA, a common charge leveled by critics against the proposed law was that it would provide federal funding to all abortions.

For example, in a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2011, the National Right to Life Committee warned that the ACA (or PPACA) was "riddled with provisions that violate right-to-life principles."

"As enacted, the PPACA contains multiple provisions authorizing federal subsidies for abortion, and additional provisions on which future abortion-expanding regulatory mandates may be based," charged the NRLC.

President Barack Obama and others countered, arguing that the law does not change the pre-existing federal restrictions on abortion funding.

"And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up — under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place," said President Obama before a Joint Session of Congress in September of 2009.

Regarding their findings, the GAO attached comments given by the Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

"Based on initial findings provided by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to CMS, CMS acknowledges that additional clarification may be needed," commented HHS.

"CMS will speak directly with the QHPs or state Departments of Insurance regarding the issues identified by GAO to determine whether additional guidance is necessary to ensure that states and issuers understand the laws and regulations governing the coverage of non-excepted abortion services."

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