Earlier in the week Katie wrote up the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study that definitively illustrates the predictable demise of a flimsy 2010 Obamacare "compromise" designed to "guarantee" that tax dollars fund elective abortions under the law. The issue is worth revisiting because it represents another egregious breach of trust. In case you missed Katie's post, here are the basics:
There are widespread instances of Obamacare insurance plans violating the rigid rules surrounding whether customers can use federal health care subsidies on insurance policies that cover abortion procedures, according to a Government Accountability Office investigation. The report, commissioned by House Republican leadership and obtained by POLITICO on Monday night, found that 15 insurers in a sample of 18 are selling Obamacare plans that do not segregate funds to cover abortion (except in cases of rape, incest or the mother’s life) from their Obamacare subsidies. The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers collect separate payments from customers for abortion coverage so that taxpayer money in the form of subsidies do not cover abortions. Adoption of the complex payment scheme — which essentially requires customers to send two separate payments to their insurers — was pivotal to getting the health law through Congress. Anti-abortion Democrats brokered the arrangement shortly before the law passed, threatening to vote against it without the restrictive language.
Good luck getting the Obama administration to enforce this element of the law, which the president's close allies have been grumbling about from the moment it was proposed. The White House is delaying, waiving, and ignoring parts of the law that they actively support, so the likelihood that they'll insist upon scrupulous adherence to provisions they were basically dragged into conceding seems...remote. You may recall that this language was written into the law, and buttressed by a presidential executive order, because recalcitrant pro-life Democrats were concerned that a vote for Obamacare would be tantamount to violating the longstanding Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer dollars from flowing to subsidize elective abortions. Nancy Pelosi needed a handful of votes to secure a slim majority to pass the unpopular legislation, so assurances were given, supposedly backed by the force of law. Those requirements, in the large majority of cases, have been ignored, according to GAO. The accommodation was a fleeting political necessity, nothing more. Former Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI), who led the small pro-life Democratic caucus at the time, has since lambasted the administration for breaking its word on conscience protections (via the coercive birth control mandate). This marks another overt betrayal. Let's not forget how Obama positioned this issue with faith leaders during his O-Care sales pitch:
"I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate. There are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness...you've heard that this is all going to mean, uh, government funding of abortion. Not true. These are all fabrications."
"Fabrications." Ironically, a prominent pro-life organization just won a years-long legal battle over a lawsuit filed against them for "falsely" claiming that a vote for Obamacare was a vote for taxpayer-funded abortion. The Susan B. Anthony List prevailed on other grounds before this GAO study vindicated the truth of their message, but this confirmation must be satisfying nonetheless. But not too satisfying because, well, taxpayer dollars funding elective abortions. (Incidentally, lest there were any doubt, left-leaning fact-checker Politifact rated statements parroting Obama's obsolete line on this matter as "true." We won't hold our breath for an updated ruling). We are once again reminded that virtually every major promise on which Obamacare was built has since been undermined or exposed by reality, verifying many conservative critiques that were once attacked and dismissed as "misinformation" and "fabrications." Obama and his party promised substantially lower premiums for everybody, that people could keep their preferred doctors and health plans "no matter what," and that health spending would decrease as a result of the law. False, all the way around; some were deliberate lies. A refresher on the big three:
We were also told that Obamacare wouldn't add to deficits. Not so, especially as the gimmicks fall apart. (CBO now says this promise is too hard to track due to the law's constant on-the-fly changes). Seniors were also promised that the law wouldn't negatively impact them, and that it would only add to Medicare's solvency. When Republicans argued otherwise, David Axelrod called it "a lie." His revisionism wasn't true then, and it's even less true today:
MVP Health Care, an insurer based in Schenectady, New York, is dropping some of its plans tied to Medicare and raising rates for other related coverage under the health care program for elderly people. Denise Gonick, president and CEO of MVP Health Care, delivered the announcement during a news conference this morning. She also said the Schenectady-based insurer with about 700,000 members in New York is projecting it will run at a deficit in 2015 because of the issue. Gonick said the decision was prompted in part by reduced reimbursement payments tied to Medicare, the federal program generally covering people age 65 and above...At the same time, the cost of medical care continues to spiral upward," Gonick said. "There is a large gap between what we can cover and the actual cost of care. The news comes after Gonick criticized state regulators, saying they had set health insurance rates for 2015 that are insufficient to cover rising medical cost. State regulators set average increases for 2015 at about 6 percent. Insurers had proposed twice that amount, about 13 percent. MVP has been facing declines in revenue during the past two years, which Gonick has attributed to industrywide challenges tied to implementing the federal Affordable Care Act.
Also on the menu across the country amid the "summer of setbacks:" Cancelled plans, double-digit premium increases, and major insurers pulling out of exchanges. Another GAO investigation into Obamacare revealed a large majority of decoy "consumers" were able to sign up for coverage and obtain taxpayer subsidies online and over the phone. The federal government even confirmed the citizenship of several of these fake people, raising questions about fraud and eligibility issues. The Obama administration recently confirmed that Healthcare.gov was hacked in July. I'll leave you with this, which is a follow-up to this story: