Fox News reported this week on two of the right’s favorite topics – the Affordable Care Act and abortion – and the point at which they intersect.
Insurance companies working under the Obamacare umbrella have secretly added a surcharge to cover the cost of abortions, an apparent violation of federal law that forbids the practice, congressional leaders charge.Consumers signing up for insurance in an Obamacare exchange won’t find a single sentence telling them that they will pay at least $1 a month to fund abortions.
Well, if congressional Republicans have a claim about “Obamacare” and abortion, and Fox News is taking it seriously, what could possibly go wrong?
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Commerce Committee’s panel on health care policy, said, “The president promised when the health care bill passed that it would not cover abortion. We knew that was an empty promise as the bill stipulated a $1 a month surcharge for plans that covered abortions.”
If this sounds vaguely familiar, long-time observers of the health-care debate may recall that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) briefly pushed a similar argument back in 2009. Conservative media took it seriously for a short while before the line of attack petered out.
More than four years later, it’s still wrong.
Justin Berrier summarized the issue, noting that the conservative complaints are rather ironic.
[T]he provision that the right-wing media is hyping is an effort to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion. The ACA requires states to offer at least one health plan that does not cover abortions. Plans that do cover abortion, however, contain a surcharge that is assessed on consumers who opt in to that plan in order to prevent federal funds from being used, a violation of the Hyde amendment that prevents federal funding from paying for abortion except in case of rape, incest, or the woman’s life being in danger.
As for Fox’s assertion that insurers “have secretly added a surcharge,” there’s nothing about this that’s “secret” at all. The provision in question has been federal law for nearly four years, and it’s been the subject of political debate since 2009.
Your wacky uncle who watches Fox all day will no doubt be sending you an email about this, but feel free to let him know there’s nothing to it.