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Debunking John Boehner's "Monthly Abortion Premium" Claim (By Reading the Bill)

November 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Drudge Report is leading off today with an outrageous and false claim about the House health care bill from House Minority Leader John Boehner [R, OH-8]. “A monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run plan,” Boehner writes. It’s right there on line 16, page 96, section 213, under ‘Insurance Rating Rules.’  The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services."

But Boehner is either lying or completely misunderstanding what that section of the bill is all about. In fact, the section of the bill he is claiming would require a “monthly abortion premium” is actually part of a safeguard in the bill to ensure that no federal money is used for funding abortions.

The section, which you can read for yourself here, directs the Health Choices Commissioner to determine, on an actuarial basis, the per month cost of insurance coverage for elective abortions. The reason the government needs this information is because the bill requires federally-funded affordability credits to be segregated from individually-paid premiums for any insurance plan that covers elective abortions and is paid for in part by affordability credits. The government needs to know how much the abortion coverage portion of the plan costs so they can ensure that that that potion of the plan is fully paid for by private individuals, not by the government.

Read the section of the bill on segregating these funds here; you’ll see that it references the section directing the Commissioner to estimate the cost of abortion coverage. There is absolutely nothing in the section or anywhere else in the bill that says anything abortion premiums.

Boehner also makes another false claim in his article. “On line 17, p. 110, section 222, under ‘Abortions for which Public Funding is Allowed,’ the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run plan,” he writes.

This, also, is not true in any way. Read the actual text of that section:

(B) ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS ALLOWED- The services described in this subparagraph are abortions for which the expenditure of Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services is permitted, based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved.

Under current law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services does not have any authority to determine what abortions can be paid for with federal funds. That authority belongs to Congress. Since 1976, Congress has passed a law every year (the Hyde Amendment) that bans federal funds from being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. This is the law being referenced in the section of the health care bill Boehner refers to in his article. It is fully upheld by the House health care bill. Congress would have to end the Hyde Amendment in order for any decisions regarding federal funds for abortions to be given to the HHS Secretary, as Boehner falsely claims.

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Comments

  • jerry50 11/05/2009 1:33pm
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    + -1

    Look I have voted 75percent republican.I would never do that again.You can see how the gop is flat out lie.The way they held up the unemployment and the way they are protecting the insurance companys.Whats the big deal you can still use these companys if you want.We arent getting our pockets filled up with insurance lobiest.I would love to see anyone that needs to go to doctor be allowed to.I never thought that grown people could act the way as the gop is.I would be ashamed to call myself a republican.

  • rcmyer 11/05/2009 4:48pm

    Your debunking of John Boehner’s claims might be more convincing if your links “read for yourself here” and “actual text of that section” were actually linked to the current version of the bill and not the version that was introduced. Why not post the current version of the bill? Where is the transparency promised by the Demoncrats?

  • Comm_reply
    LucasFoxx 11/05/2009 5:12pm

    What differences do you note?

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 11/05/2009 5:55pm

    Hey rcmyer, I am actually linking to the same exact version that Boehner links to to make his case on the Amplify page (http://bit.ly/3b2gCO). The manager’s amendment you refer to as the current version does not make any changes to these provisions.

  • billines 11/05/2009 7:10pm

    Boehner probably heard his incorrect information on Fox News.

    Don’t watch Fox News if you want to be informed.

    Watch ANY OTHER source of news or you will not get the whole story.

    In a recent survey, 72% of Fox News viewers thought Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attack.

    Only 4% of PBS viewers were wrong on the same survey question.

    Fox News should be required to scroll a disclaimer stating that their slogan “Fair and Balanced”… is really a joke (lie).

  • adn11 11/05/2009 7:32pm

    Yep, what else can you expect from Republican Reps. They were stupid and slow to see that America is due for health care reform. They have been trying to the end to maintain the status quo and support corporate fascism. Now, they see that this is a historical limelight and that they have missed again, they go all out with all kinds of deceits and lies to defeat all efforts of reform. Good luck Boehner! You are your like minded cronies should have listen to the American people a little more.

  • PatrioticProgressive 11/05/2009 9:44pm
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    + -1

    Tone Perkins of Focus on Family is going around opposing Health Care reform because he says people would be allowed to get abortions with their insurance.

    Not only is Tony Perkins of Focus on Family WRONG (the Hyde Amendment already prohibits this), but the insurance Focus on Family offers to THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES covers abortions.

    What a hypocrite and a liar Tony Perkins is!

  • coral5353 11/06/2009 2:29am

    Your debunking should include the fact that the Hyde Amendment must be approved annually. Also, consideration must be given to the fact that explicit language prohibiting the federal funding of abortions was rejected in committee. Therefore, if the Hyde Amendment is not approved, we will all pay for abortions based on the passage sited. Pretty good slight of hand guys. “You can fool some of the people……”

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    spender 11/06/2009 4:37am
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    coral5353: “Your debunking should include the fact that the Hyde Amendment must be approved annually. Also, consideration must be given to the fact that explicit language prohibiting the federal funding of abortions was rejected in committee.”

    So you’re saying that the prohibition against federally funded abortions isn’t good enough because they’re only prohibited once? You have one law against using tax money to pay for abortions, but you wanted two, is that right? If there were two would you say it still wasn’t adequate and demand three laws against it?

  • Comm_reply
    Neobane 11/06/2009 5:52am

    Spender, what coral is saying is that under the current revision of the bill:

    “(B) ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS ALLOWED- The services described in this subparagraph are abortions for which the expenditure of Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services is permitted, based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved.”

    Now, two questions. Why would this clause need to be in the bill if there was NOT an intent of making abortions covered under federal funding? What happens to this portion of the bill if the Hyde Amendment does not pass one year?

  • Comm_reply
    spender 11/06/2009 8:21pm
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    + -1

    Neobane,

    I suspect that the purpose is so that if congress changes its mind about the Hyde Amendment, federal medical funding mechanisms would change as well. I don’t see anything nefarious about this at all. What would happen if the Hyde Amendment didn’t pass one year? Well, then I supposed federal funding for abortions would be allowed. But that would be the case with or without this bill.

    What you seem to want is a system where congress loses the power to allow federal funding for abortions. You want a second level of rules prohibiting it so that in case the Hyde Amendment doesn’t pass one year, it doesn’t change anything. Now, it’s fine for you to want that, but come out and say it. Don’t pretend that this bill will have consequences it clearly will not have.

  • Comm_reply
    songspiritUSA 11/06/2009 5:43pm

    The proof of the pudding is in looking at the e-mails that Planned Parenthood is sending. And THOSE e-mails state that as long as the prohibitions are not passed as a part of this bill, federal funding of abortions is a go.

    What so dishonest about this whole process is – this whole process. To rush such a bill with so much impact through, particularly given that it’s unconstitutional, should be enough for every American to shout KILL THIS BILL. That people who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, are even considering voting for this bill should be enough for all of us to be calling for impeachment on the basis of perjury.

    That we have a Speaker of the House pushing this through, and a majority leader bragging about how he can pass such legislation via a “vapor bill” that doesn’t even exist in its final form, is a travesty.

  • RonBacardi 11/06/2009 6:27am

    So at the end of the day, Boehner is wrong as to the second portion so long as Congress continues to approve the Hyde Amendment on an annual basis? That’s a fairly large caveat, don’t you think?

    Anyway, the whole abortion/immigration thing is moot. This bill will destroy the economy and our current healthcare system even if the Republicans had their way on those two issues.

  • krisko 11/20/2009 9:18am

    If you honestly think that there will be any segregation of funds, I envy your innocence and naivety. The government will cut a check to benefits providers for the aggregate amount of affordability credits of every person enrolled in the plan. Benefits plans aren’t going to have one bank account marked “abortion” and one marked “no abortion.”

    Look at it this way: Let’s say I hand you a $20 bill, free money that you do not have to pay back. However, my one caveat is that you cannot spend any of that $20 on alcohol. You graciously accept, look in the fridge, and notice you’re out of rum and Coke. Do you, a) go to the store and make two separate transactions using my money for Coke and your money for rum?; or do you b) hand the cashier my $20, mix yourself a drink, and laugh at what a gullible idiot I am?

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