The House has voted to bar federal subsidies to Americans signing up for insurance plans under President Barack Obama's health care law if the policies cover abortion.
The vote was 227-188 on Tuesday. The bill stands no chance in the Democratic-led Senate and the White House has threatened a veto in any event.
Majority Republicans in the House insisted that the measure was necessary to permanently bar any taxpayer dollars for abortion as implementation of the 4-year-old law moves ahead.
Decades-old policy under the Hyde amendment bans federal tax dollars for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Democrats countered that the legislation was another salvo in the GOP's "war on women," designed to chip away at reproductive rights.
A Heritage Foundation report says Obamacare is using hidden fees, surcharges and grants to help pay for abortions,
According to the report, Obamacare pays for abortions by:
- Charging hidden fees for abortions in the premiums of health insurance obtained through the Affordable Care Act.
- Offering subsidies used to purchase insurance through Obamacare exchanges that cover elective abortions.
- Using taxpayer money to hire pro-abortion organizations to act as Obamacare "navigators," who steer consumers toward plans that provide abortion coverage.
"The president promised when the health care bill passed that it would not cover abortion," Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health, told the investigative news site Watchdog.org
"We knew that was an empty promise as the bill stipulated a $1 a month surcharge for plans that covered abortions. On top of that … it’s near impossible to decipher which plans include abortion and at what cost!"
According to the report, "the Obamacare law mandates that insurance companies must 'segregate' any federal affordability tax credits that they receive from the individual premiums used to pay for abortions."
Also, consumers, who purchase plans through those exchanges, often are given government subsidies to purchase them. Thus, federal tax dollars can be used to help fund abortions through those plans.
"By allowing health insurers that sell plans on many state exchanges to cover abortion while remaining eligible for federal subsidies, Obamacare opens new avenues for federal funding of abortion coverage." The Heritage report says. "These federal tax credits could facilitate the purchase of health plans that cover elective abortion for millions of Americans who did not have such coverage previously."
The report also says that tax money has been used in several states to hire pro-abortion groups, such as Planned Parenthood, to act as so-called "navigators," representatives presumably hired to steer consumers toward the right plans.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.