Stuff for My Conservative Friends

January 18, 2017

I typically try to stay away from abortion in my analysis because of the passionate and personal nature of the debate. Of course, I've also felt that there is enough wrong with the current reform packages that there isn't any need to even get into the abortion question. Others may feel differently. That being the case, and because it is likely to be a determining factor in getting conservative Democrats to go for final passage, here is a brief take on how reform may affect the abortion issue -

The Senate bill, which most likely resembles what a final bill will look like when it comes out of conference, requires that at least one plan participating in a newly created exchange offer abortion coverage. Any plan that does so will be prohibited from using public funds, received via affordability credits or subsidies, to pay for the procedure or anything having to do with it.

So, it would seem that taxpayers are not on the hook for abortion. However...

Every private plan participating in the new exchanges will be required to charge every beneficiary a standard premium for covered services (not including abortion), the revenues of which will be deposited into one allocation account.

Every policy holder will also be charged a separate fee, equivalent to the actuarial value of providing abortion coverage to every policy holder, whether their individual policies cover the service or not . Ultimately, the fee level will be determined by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services but, by law, it cannot be set any less than $1 per beneficiary (regardless of "the enrollee's age, sex, or family status") per month. These funds will be segregated into a separate allocation account to, ostensibly, avoid cross-subsidization.

So, while dollars that get funneled through the government don't go to abortion coverage, you are still required to pay for the service.

Interestingly, people who receive their health benefits through their employer will pay the fee through a pre-tax payroll deduction. Presumably, there would be an abortion sur-charge right next to your FICA or Medicare deduction.

Posted by Jean Jayston