Healthcare

Senate Republicans look to address concerns about abortion language in ObamaCare bills

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Senate Republicans are looking for ways to ensure that two ObamaCare funding bills they’re trying to pass don’t put money toward insurance plans that cover abortions. 

“There were some questions that were raised in the pro-life community, and we want to make sure we get those addressed so that all conservatives feel comfortable voting for this transition out of ObamaCare, which is what this is all about,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). 

{mosads}Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Wednesday they asked leadership not to bring their ObamaCare bills up for a vote this week after House Republicans demanded it include more abortion restrictions.

Those bills were likely going to be attached to a stopgap measure to fund the government through the next few weeks, but are now being punted to January as Congress runs up against a Friday deadline to avoid a shutdown. 

Now the bills might be added to a full-year funding bill in January, which gives Senate and House leaders more time to find a compromise.

“It probably was the right thing to do at this time. The reason is you have to have a product that can pass both the House and the Senate, and I think there were some concerns in the House based on some information that was provided that suggested some of those funds could be released for abortion services, which we didn’t believe to be the case,” said Rounds. 

“I’m pro-life. I don’t want any of it used for abortion services, and that was never the intent. So if we can clarify that, get it cleared up, that makes it a whole lot easier for conservatives and pro-life members to be able to support it.” 

Rounds mentioned that the issue could be resolved by an executive order signed by President Trump that would ban the funding from going toward plans that provide abortions. 

However, anti-abortion groups have been pushing for the ObamaCare bills to include language from the Hyde Amendment, a long-standing amendment reauthorized every year that bans Medicaid and other programs under the Health and Human Services Department from using federal funds for abortions.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told Republican members Tuesday the lower chamber would not be passing the ObamaCare bills without Hyde language. 

“There’s no stronger pro-life person than Paul Ryan. That’s never coming through here without Hyde language in it,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) a Budget Committee member who is close to leadership. 

Tags Abortion Alexander-Murray bill Donald Trump Hyde Amendment Lamar Alexander Mike Rounds Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Paul Ryan Pro-life movement Susan Collins Tom Cole
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