WASHINGTON– In response to criticism of its recent regulation requiring coverage of FDA-approved birth control drugs and devices, the White House today announced a purported “compromise” under which insurance plans will be required to provide the coverage in all plans, without charging anything additional for it.
The Administration position is that insurers can be required to provide the coverage for “free” because birth control is less expensive than childbirth. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of right-to-life organizations, issued the following comment, any part of which may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson:
“President Obama today promulgated a scam that, if he is re-elected, will allow him to mandate that every health plan in America cover abortion on demand,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “The same twisted logic will be applied: By ordering health plans to cover elective abortion, health plans would save the much higher costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and care for the baby — and under the Obama scam, if a procedure saves money, then that means that you’re not really paying for it when the government mandates it.”
By this form of doublespeak, one could say that the federal Medicaid program was not really “funding abortion” when it paid for 300,000 abortions a year (prior to adoption of the Hyde Amendment in 1976), because after all, every abortion that the government paid for also saved the government money.
The Obama “you must pay, but nobody pays” scam might also be applied to other “cost-cutting” mandates. Perhaps every health plan will be mandated to cover physician-assisted suicide, in states in which assisted suicide is legal. After all, each suicide would result in a net savings to the plan, and under the Obama scam, that means it is really free and nobody really pays for it.
Some journalists have wrongly reported that the ObamaCare law contains language prohibiting the federal government from mandating that health plans cover abortions. This is erroneous. The law prevents the Secretary of Health and Human Services from including abortion in a list of federally mandated “essential health benefits.” But the birth control mandate is based on an entirely different provision of the law, which allows the Secretary to mandate that all health plans cover any service that the Secretary places on a list of “preventive” services. There is nothing in the law to prevent the Secretary from placing abortion, assisted suicide, or any other additional services on the preventive services list, nor does the Secretary require the agreement of any other authority in the government to do so — except, perhaps, the president.
At his press conference today, President Obama suggested that the birth-control mandate was recommended by “the nation’s leading medical experts.” The actual make up of the handpicked panel that made the birth control recommendations was reported by Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online here (http://nrlc.co/wlEyK4).
NRLC supports enactment of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467, H.R. 1179)(http://nrlc.co/zKiSSV), which would allow health providers to decline to provide abortions or other specific medical services on the basis of religious belief or moral convictions.