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Republicans Prioritize Partisan Politics Over Americans’ Health – Again

By March 19, 2018No Comments

GOP Chooses to Push Extreme Agenda, Walks Away From Talks to Fix Trump’s Health Care Mess

After Congressional Republican leaders left the bipartisan negotiating table and unilaterally released a bill that includes a poison pill to effectively ban all private insurance from covering abortion services and would hamstring states’ efforts to avoid the disastrous effects of the Administration’s junk plan proposal, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“It’s a crying shame that Republicans chose to torch good, bipartisan proposals that would have counteracted the price hikes that Trump’s sabotage is set to inflict on millions of American families this fall. Many of the policies included in this package were the product of bipartisan negotiation, but once again, Republicans are choosing to prioritize an extreme agenda over their constituents’ interests. Republicans leaders themselves boasted that the noncontroversial elements of this stabilization package would have reduced premiums up to 40%.

“When Republicans had the opportunity to move on from their partisan war on health care, they instead added a poison pill that would effectively ban all private insurance from covering abortion services. Susan Collins will now need to explain to her constituents that when she could have finally kept her promise and undone some of Trump’s sabotage, she instead chose to let far-right Republicans’ anti-woman agenda scuttle the deal.

“What’s more, the legislation would prevent states from taking action against the harmful Trump Administration proposal to push junk insurance plans that can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and refuse to cover essential benefits. Ultimately, today’s partisan stabilization proposal shows that despite their constituents’ wishes, Republicans will just keep going after pre-existing condition protections and women’s health while artificially inflating rates through their relentless sabotage of our care.”

BACKGROUND

The Republican “stabilization” bill includes expansive and restrictive new anti-abortion policy that would have far-reaching consequences for women’s health.

Republicans falsely claim they want to apply the existing ‘no federal funding for abortions’ Hyde Amendment to stabilization legislation. However, they are in fact proposing something entirely new: language that would result in an effective ban on private insurance coverage for abortion, including in plans purchased by private individuals using no federal money.

That’s because the language that Republicans are now pushing would block payments to insurance companies if health plans sold through the marketplace or elsewhere offer abortion coverage. Experts predict that this new language would coerce insurance companies into dropping abortion coverage from all plans, both on and off the Marketplace, in order to receive CSRs or reinsurance payments.

These Republicans are proposing to ban a woman from using her own money to buy insurance that covers a medical service the Supreme Court says she has a constitutional right to access. This would be a new frontier in Republicans’ war on women’s health.

And it’s entirely hypocritical, because the Affordable Care Act was signed into law with restrictions that prohibit insurance companies from using public funds for abortion coverage. The ACA’s Nelson Amendment requires plans sold on the marketplaces that cover abortion to segregate a consumer’s payment to ensure that federal funds (tax credits and CSRs) are not used to pay for abortion services except in the cases of life-endangerment, rape, or incest. After the ACA was passed, President Obama even signed an executive order to emphasize that none of its funds can be used to cover abortion services. Even anti-abortion Republicans agree that the new proposed language is a solution in search of a problem: Senator Lamar Alexander cited his 100% pro-life rating when he clarified that the traditional Hyde restrictions already apply to Affordable Care Act funding.

It is no coincidence Republicans started to aggressively push to expand this federal abortion restriction when it started to look like bipartisan stabilization could succeed. When Republicans’ constituents face double-digit premium increases in the fall because their Congressmen scuttled stabilization, they’ll know exactly who to blame.