Sen. Marshall, Colleagues Pressure Biden Administration to Withdraw Proposed Obamacare Abortion Rule

(Washington, D.C., July 30, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. joined 26 of his colleagues in issuing a public comment letter opposing the Biden administration’s attempt to ignore congressional intent and the unequivocal legal requirements regarding abortion coverage offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra asks for the withdrawal of the Biden administration’s proposed rule to eliminate a 2019 Trump-era rule and to allow combined payments for abortion coverage in taxpayer-funded Obamacare exchange plans, defying the unambiguous separate payment requirement in the ACA law.

“Abortion is not health care, and American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize it,” the Senators wrote in objecting to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Updating Payment Parameters, Section 1332 Waiver Implementing Regulations, and Improving Health Insurance Markets for 2022 and Beyond Proposed Rule.

“The Proposed Rule directly violates the express text, clear meaning, and Congressional intent of Section 1303.  In construing ‘separate’ to mean ‘together,’ the Proposed Rule would illegally allow insurance companies to collect combined payments for elective abortion coverage, rather than separate payments as the law requires.  The Proposed Rule also undermines consumer transparency and makes it harder for consumers to know whether their plan covers abortion, which may lead many to pay for abortions in violation of their consciences or religious beliefs,” the letter said.

The extensive letter reviews the separate payment and separate accounting requirements in the ACA, the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the provisions, and the Trump administration’s efforts to follow the law.  The letter also attacks “faulty reasoning” used by the Biden administration to justify the proposed rule.

Finally, the Senators take issue with the ramifications of the proposed rule as congressional Democrats intend to make permanent the increased taxpayer-funded subsidies for ACA exchange plans, without Hyde Amendment protections.

“The purpose and effect of the Proposed Rule, in tandem with partisan legislative efforts to expand the ACA, will be to increase taxpayer funding for abortion on demand, to the financial benefit of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry,” the letter said.

In addition to Senator Marshall, the letter was signed by Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Risch (R-Idaho), John Thune (R-S.D.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.).

Read a copy of the signed letter here.