After passing a health repeal bill that would add $230 billion to the deficit, Republicans will continue to break their “pledge” today by focusing not on job creation or deficit reduction, as many promised during the campaign, but by increasing government involvement in a woman’s right to choose. H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” would codify the Hyde Amendment, the annual appropriations rider that restricts Medicaid funding for abortions, and extend its restrictions throughout the health care system. Under current law, only specific programs have abortion funding restrictions, and those must be reauthorized every year. H.R. 3 would impose a blanket restriction on all abortion funding, even when the cost of abortion coverage is paid for entirely with private funds.
The bill prohibits both direct and indirect funding streams that might potentially touch on the provision of abortion care and would make abortion as difficult to obtain as possible without actually criminalizing it. And it does this by arguing that money is fungible — that is, if an individual received a tax credit, she will have more private dollars to pay for abortion coverage. Therefore:
– It would deny tax credits to employers or other entities that pay for health plans that cover abortion
– It would deny tax credits to individuals or entities that pay for abortion care
– Disallow medical deductions for payments for any health plan that includes abortion coverage or for any medical expenses related to abortion care
–Treat as income any amounts paid for an abortion from a tax-preferred trust or account, such as a health savings account
Regardless of how Republicans sell this, the act would go far beyond current law and a mere restriction on public funds. The ACA already stipulates that insurers that sell plans in the new exchanges and accept federal offsets for premiums may only offer abortion coverage if enrollees make a separate premium payment for the cost of abortion coverage from private funds and if insurers keep those funds separate from federal premium payments and credits.
What the GOP is doing with H.R. 3 is something entirely different. They’re not only placing new restrictions on abortion services but also expanding the role of government in private life. As CAP’s Jessica Arons put it, “H.R. 3 would redefine the concept of government funding far beyond the current common understanding. Rather than simply prohibiting the use of federal funds to directly pay for abortion, H.R. 3 would insert itself into every crevice of government activity and prohibit even private and non-federal government funds from being spent on any activity related to the provision of abortion any time federal money is involved in funding or subsidizing other, non-abortion-related activities.