Republican Congress must include crucial pro-life protections to earn our support

Republican Congress must include crucial pro-life protections to earn our support
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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of the Alexander-Murray health care bill. News media have been abuzz with the CBO’s projections that the bill would reduce the deficit and keep about the same number of people insured.

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Whatever the merits of the Alexander-Murray bill regarding its impact of the federal budget and current coverage levels, it would do nothing to protect the lives of unborn children, or prevent American taxpayers from being forced to fund abortion. Instead, it would merely prop up ObamaCare, the largest expansion of abortion on-demand since Roe v. Wade. This is a serious, baffling oversight.

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Under ObamaCare, cost-sharing subsidies are paid directly to insurance companies to help reduce the cost of plans for customers. The insurance companies, in turn, can reduce or eliminate copays or help patients with deductibles. These government subsidies — that is, taxpayer dollars — can be used to pay for plans that cover elective abortion, something a vast majority of Americans have long opposed.

 

To illustrate the scale of the problem, SBA List’s research and education arm, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, estimated in 2017, based on its online research and contacts with insurers, that there are nearly nine hundred such plans included under ObamaCare.

Further, Dr. Randall O'Bannon, Director of Research for the National Right to Life Educational Foundation has pointed out that in 2016, according to government figures, 83 percent of the 12.7 million people who bought a plan on HealthCare.gov in the last enrollment period did so with at least some subsidy.

The Alexander-Murray bill continues this massive expansion of federal involvement with abortion. The funds it allocates fall outside of the regular appropriations process and therefore outside of the reach of the Hyde Amendment, the longstanding, bipartisan policy that prevents taxpayer funding of abortion.

There is a simple solution: add Hyde protections to make it clear that cost-sharing subsidies cannot be used to fund plans that pay for the destruction of unborn lives. In fact, it is so simple, it is hard to understand why it was not done in the first place.

As leaders of two major national pro-life groups, all along we have insisted that any health care bill produced by the Republican Congress must include crucial pro-life protections to earn our support. We will oppose any plan that does not, and right now that includes the Alexander-Murray bill.

Abortion is not health care, and taxpayers should never be forced to be complicit in the destruction of human life. This should be a no-brainer for this Congress, which should be governing as the most pro-life Congress in history, under a president who was elected on a pro-life platform and is taking those policy commitments very seriously.

The Alexander-Murray bill takes an inadequate, short-sighted approach that in no way fulfills Republican campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. We urge Congress to go back to the drawing board on health care reform and address the abortion funding catastrophe created by ObamaCare and maintained by Alexander-Murray in its current form. The millions of pro-life voters we represent expect no less.

Carol Tobias is the president of the National Right to Life Committee, the federation of state right-to-life affiliates, and more than 3,000 local chapters.

Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, which has a network of more than 600,000 members nationwide.