Quick Fact: Fox Nation falsely suggests Obama proposal includes "Abortion Funding" inconsistent with Hyde Amendment

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Linking to a Newsweek.com blog post which stated that in his health care reform proposal, President Obama "went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted," The Fox Nation used the headline "Obama Keeps Abortion Funding in His Health Care Bill," falsely suggesting that Obama's plan exceeded what is currently allowed under the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

From The Fox Nation, accessed February 22:

The Fox Nation headline linked to a February 22 Newsweek.com blog post which reported that "In his plan, Obama went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted, which is less restrictive than the Stupak-Pitts Amendment."

FACT: Senate bill prohibits health insurers from using federal subsidies "for the purposes of paying for" abortion services restricted by Hyde.

The Senate health care reform bill as passed states that if a "qualified health plan" offered under the health insurance exchange provides coverage of abortion services for which public funding is banned, "the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable" to the subsidies created under the bill "for purposes of paying for such services." From Section 1303(b)(2)A):

''(2) PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.-

''(A) IN GENERAL.-If a qualified health plan provides coverage of services described in paragraph (1)(B)(i), the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable to any of the following for purposes of paying for such services:

''(i) The credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the credit under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

''(ii) Any cost-sharing reduction under section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the reduction under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

FACT: Senate bill establishes a separate premium to segregate funds used to pay for abortions from federal funds

The Senate bill as passed further requires issuers to "collect from each enrollee" in plans that cover abortions "separate payment" for "an amount equal to the actuarial value of the coverage of" abortion services. This value must be at least $1 per enrollee, per month. All such funds are deposited into a separate account used by the issuer to pay for abortion services; federal funds and the remaining premium payments are used to pay for all other services.

FACT: Current law allows coverage for abortions restricted by Hyde under Medicaid through similar fund segregation

Seventeen states use state funds to cover abortions for Medicaid recipients in circumstances beyond Hyde. According to a November 1, 2009, study by the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states provide coverage under Medicaid for "all or most medically necessary abortions," not just abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Those states "us[e] their own funds" -- not federal funds -- "to pay" for the procedures. Therefore, in 17 states, Medicaid, a federally subsidized health care program, covers abortions in circumstances in which federal money is prohibited from being spent on abortion.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform, Reproductive Rights
Network/Outlet
Fox Nation
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