OPIOID SERIES:

GOP lawmaker: Government still failing to keep abortion out of ObamaCare

One of Congress’s biggest critics of abortion coverage under ObamaCare says he is deeply dissatisfied with the government's latest effort to make insurers follow the law.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who chairs the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said the proposed rule that aims to remind insurers that abortion payments must be separate under ObamaCare ”absolutely fails” to address his concerns.

“The one thing the rule does make crystal clear is that the Administration has no plan to enforce the law,” Smith said in a statement to The Hill.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the proposed rule last week, which seeks to tighten how insurers segregate funds for abortion coverage on the ObamaCare exchanges.

The rule comes after the Obama administration faced a tide of criticism after a federal audit earlier this fall found many companies allowed women to pay for abortions through their ObamaCare healthcare plans.

Another report, released last week from two anti-abortion groups, found that many companies failed to make changes even after the audit.

Smith announced the findings at a Capitol Hill press conference on Nov. 20, accusing the Obama administration of ignoring the law and helping to subsidize abortions.

He also blasted CMS for ignoring his letters asking about how it would comply with the law.

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner responded to the letter on Nov. 21, one day after the press conference, offering details about the agency’s new proposed rule.    

She also pointed to the agency’s efforts to make sure that states and insurance companies “fully understand and follow” the rules.

“As is the case with many provisions in the Affordable Care Act, states and state insurance commissioners are the entities primarily responsible for implementing and enforcing the law,” Tavenner wrote in the letter, which was provided to The Hill.

In Smith’s statement Tuesday, he said the proposed rule allows the extra costs for an abortion to be “hidden in a notice in a stack of papers” that makes it tough for people to know if their plan covers abortion.

“It is the opposite of transparency,” he said.