On his Fox News program, Bill O'Reilly claimed that the health care bill will "require American taxpayers to fund abortion." In fact, the Senate bill, now being considered by the House, prohibits health insurers from using federal subsidies to pay for abortion services restricted under the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.
O'Reilly claims "taxpayer money linked up with the termination of a fetus"
Talking about health care reform on the March 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly falsely claimed that "we now have taxpayer money linked up with the termination of a fetus." Although he noted that President Obama "says no federal money will be used to fund abortions," O'Reilly concluded: "After much reflection, Talking Points would not vote for Obamacare mainly because the country can't afford it. ... In addition, it is grossly unfair to require American taxpayers to fund abortion if they believe it's wrong."
FACT: Senate bill does not allow federal funding for abortion above current law
The Senate health care reform bill -- now being considered by the House -- as passed states that if a "qualified health plan" offered under the health insurance exchange provides coverage of abortion services for which public funding is banned, "the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable" to the subsidies created under the bill "for purposes of paying for such services."
Senate bill establishes a separate premium to segregate funds used to pay for abortions from federal funds. The Senate bill as passed further requires issuers to "collect from each enrollee" in plans that cover abortions a "separate payment" for "an amount equal to the actuarial value of the coverage of" abortion services. This value must be at least $1 per enrollee, per month. All such funds are deposited into a separate account used by the issuer to pay for abortion services; federal funds and the remaining premium payments are used to pay for all other services.
Current law allows for Medicaid to provide coverage for abortions restricted by Hyde by using similar fund segregation. According to a November 1, 2009, study by the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states provide coverage under Medicaid for "all or most medically necessary abortions," not just abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Those states "us[e] their own funds" -- not federal funds -- "to pay" for the procedures. Therefore, in 17 states, Medicaid, a federally subsidized health care program, covers abortions in circumstances in which federal money is prohibited from being spent on abortion.