If you thought a dollar doesn't buy much anymore than you may not have heard the latest news from Washington. The health care law will reportedly require a $1 dollar surcharge for members of insurance policies that include elective abortion coverage.
LifeNews.com reports that the controversial Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare," will reportedly require people enrolled in a plan that includes elective abortion coverage to pay $1 a month to subsidize abortions, even if they are morally against the procedure.
News about the abortion surcharge has once again fired up those concerned about protecting religious liberty. The ruling sidesteps what is known as the "Hyde Amendment," which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion, by engaging in an accounting scheme that is described within the Act.
"To comply with the accounting requirement, plans will collect a $1 abortion surcharge from each premium payer," a pro-life source on Capitol Hill told LifeNews.com.
"The enrollee will make two payments, $1 per month for abortion and another payment for the rest of the services covered. As described in the rule, the surcharge can only be disclosed to the enrollee at the time of enrollment. Furthermore, insurance plans may only advertise the total cost of the premiums without disclosing that enrollees will be charged a $1 per month fee to pay directly subsidized abortions."
In a separate interview with LifeSiteNews.com, National Right to Life Senior Legislative Counsel Susan Muskett commented that the final rule "reinforces the serious pro-abortion effects that Obamacare will have on America." Muskett also added that the plan violates the intention of the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal dollars from funding health insurance plans that cover abortion – the exceptions being in the case of rape or incest.
The Act's final rule also addressed what are known as federally-administered "multi-state" plans. However the final rule indicates that standards for such plans will be outlined in future rulemaking published by the Office of Personnel Management.
"There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act to prevent some OPM (government administered) plans from covering elective abortion, and questions remain about whether OPM multi-state plans will include elective abortion," the LifeNews source said. "If such plans do include abortion, there are concerns that the abortion coverage will even be offered in states that have prohibited abortion coverage in their state exchanges."
Critics of the ruling state that the accounting gimmick is similar to the "accommodation" that President Obama announced last month when mandating that religious employers cover birth control drugs and sterilizations.
Under the law, the mandates will be in place by the first of January of 2014.
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