Special Report advanced Rep. Bart Stupak false suggestion that health care reform bill legislation favored by President Obama would go beyond the Hyde amendment's restrictions by providing "public funding for abortion." Shannon Bream furthered Stupak's claim by stating that lawmakers "have fought to include specific language blocking the [abortion] funding" and "do not believe the President is willing to build a true firewall."
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From the February 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
SHANNON BREAM (CORRESPONDENT): The President has made no secret of his friendly relationship with groups like Planned Parenthood and his pro-choice position. But in his health care speech to the nation last September, he made a clear promise.
BARACK OBAMA (VIDEO CLIP): No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.
BREAM: Lawmakers who have fought to include specific language blocking the funding do not believe the President is willing to build a true firewall.
REP. BART STUPAK (VIDEO CLIP): The House has passed our amendment which says no public funding for abortion. The Senate language said no, we're going to have public funding for abortion. And the President has gone with the Senate language and therefore it is unacceptable to us in the House and a lot of members in the Senate.
BREAM: Even absent specific restrictions, pro-life advocates worry that by providing entities that perform abortions with any funding, those groups will then be able to cover overhead expenses with taxpayer money freeing up other financial resources to bankroll their abortion services. Pro-choice advocates say the situation isn't unique.
FACT: Senate bill prohibits health insurers from using federal subsidies "for the purposes of paying for" abortion services restricted by Hyde
The Senate health care reform bill 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." From Section 1303(b)(2)A):
''(2) PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.-
''(A) IN GENERAL.-If a qualified health plan provides coverage of services described in paragraph (1)(B)(i), the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable to any of the following for purposes of paying for such services:
''(i) The credit under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the credit under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).
''(ii) Any cost-sharing reduction under section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (and the amount (if any) of the advance payment of the reduction under section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).
FACT: 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 "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.
FACT: Current law allows coverage for abortions restricted by Hyde under Medicaid through similar fund segregation
Seventeen states use state funds to cover abortions for Medicaid recipients in circumstances beyond Hyde. 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.