Congressman Cloud, Sen. Hyde-Smith lead effort to end Hidden Abortion Surcharge

Congressman Michael Cloud and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) led a letter signed by 103 members of Congress and 25 U.S.

Senators urging a swift end to a hidden surcharge that has funded elective abortion in many Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance plans.

In response to Congressman Cloud’s previous efforts to bring attention to this issue, including a January letter signed by 50 members of Congress, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had announced plans to end this hidden abortion surcharge by replacing a regulation created by the Obama administration in clear violation of the ACA.

Today’s letter to Sec. Azar highlighted the urgency of concluding the process before the upcoming 2020 Open Enrollment begins for ACA health insurance plans.

The ACA departed from the federal government’s long-time practice of prohibiting most taxpayer funding of elective abortions, providing taxpayer-funded subsidies to buy abortion-covering health insurance plans.

However, the law required anyone purchasing a plan to make two separate payments, one of which was known as an “abortion surcharge” and had to be deposited into “a separate account that…is used exclusively to pay” for elective abortions.

This would prevent taxpayer money from directly covering abortions and provide transparency by separating out the abortion surcharge for enrollees to see.

The Obama Administration, however, ignored the plain meaning of the law and interpreted “separate” to mean “together.”

They did this by allowing insurance providers to charge a single payment that covered the entire plan, rather than requiring a second payment for the abortion surcharge.

This hid the abortion surcharge from enrollees, so that many who would have objected to it did not realize they were paying for it.

“Taxpayer money should never be used to take innocent lives, and Obamacare passed with the promise that taxpayers would not have to subsidize another person’s abortion,” said Congressman Cloud. “Nevertheless, these hidden abortion surcharges were pushed upon Americans who would have objected had they known.”

“There is an urgency to ensure people are not unknowingly supporting abortions if they’re enrolled in ACA health plans. The Obama administration strayed far from the law by allowing hidden abortion surcharges on people who would never condone their hard-earned money going to support abortions,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. “The regulations need to be corrected as soon as possible.”

Representative Cloud and Senator Hyde-Smith, along with the other Members of Congress who signed the letter, urged swift action to end the hidden abortion surcharge and require compliance with the plain meaning of the ACA before the 2020 Open Enrollment period begins.

A copy of the letter is available here.

The information in this article is from a press release from Brian Cruickshanks, Communications Director for Congressman Michael Cloud.