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Letter to the Hon. Alex Azar, Secretary of the HHS - Senate, House Lawmaker Press HHS to End Hidden Abortion Surcharge


By: John Barrasso, Mike Enzi, Mike Lee, Marsha Blackburn, Mike Rounds, John Thune, Tim Scott, James Lankford, Jim Inhofe, Deb Fischer, Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven, Thom Tillis, Steve Daines, Joshua Hawley, Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts, Todd Young, James Risch, Mike Crapo, Joni Ernst, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Carol Miller, Alex Mooney, Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, Dan Newhouse, Ben Cline, Rob Wittman, Chris Stewart, Roger Williams, Kenny Marchant, Pete Olson, Chip Roy, Bill Flores, Randy Weber, Sr., Mike Conaway, Kevin Brady, Ron Wright, Lance Gooden, John Ratcliffe, Dan Crenshaw, Louie Gohmert, David Kustoff, Mark Green, John Rose, Tim Burchett, Phil Roe, Dusty Johnson, Ralph Norman, Jr., William Timmons, Jeff Duncan, Joe Wilson, Sr., Mike Kelly, Jr., Lloyd Smucker, Tom Cole, Kevin Hern, Anthony Gonzalez, Troy Balderson, Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Bob Latta, Jim Jordan, Brad Wenstrup, Steve Chabot, Jeff Fortenberry, Kelly Armstrong, Ted Budd, Mark Meadows, David Rouzer, Mark Walker, Greg Gianforte, Steven Palazzo, Michael Guest, Roger Wicker, Trent Kelly, Jason Smith, Billy Long, Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn, Paul Mitchell, Bill Huizenga, Jack Bergman, Andy Harris, Ralph Abraham, Mike Johnson, Clay Higgins, Steve Scalise, James Comer, Jr., Ron Estes, Steven Watkins, Jr., Roger Marshall, Jim Banks, Jackie Walorski, Dan Lipinski, Steve King, Tom Graves, Jr., Rick Allen, Barry Loudermilk, Jody Hice, Buddy Carter, Greg Steube, Ross Spano, Gus Bilirakis, Daniel Webster, Bill Posey, Ted Yoho, Matt Gaetz, Doug Lamborn, Duncan Hunter, Doug LaMalfa, Debbie Lesko, David Schweikert, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Bruce Westerman, Rick Crawford, Gary Palmer, Robert Aderholt, Bradley Byrne, Cindy Hyde-Smith
Date: July 1, 2019
Location: Washington, DC

Senate and House lawmakers, led by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Congressman Michael Cloud (R-Texas), today pressed the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) to quickly finalize a rule to end a hidden surcharge within many health plans that funds elective abortion services.

Hyde-Smith and Cloud sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, signed by 25 Senators and 103 Representatives, that stresses the importance of swiftly replacing an Obama-era rule that violates congressional directives in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to keep abortion service charges separate from other premium payments.

"There is an urgency to ensure people are not unknowingly supporting abortions if they're enrolled in ACA health plans. The Obama administration strayed far from the law by allowing hidden abortion surcharges on people who would never condone their hard-earned money going to support abortions," Hyde-Smith said. "The regulations need to be corrected as soon as possible."

"Taxpayer money should never be used to take innocent lives, and Obamacare passed with the promise that taxpayers would not have to subsidize another person's abortion," said Cloud. "Nevertheless, these hidden abortion surcharges were pushed upon Americans who would have objected had they known."

A proposed HHS rule, titled "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity," would enforce the separate payment requirement for ACA health plans that cover elective abortion services. While Congress required separate payments under ACA Section 1303, the Obama administration allowed such abortion fees to be paid together with other premium payments.

"This misinterpretation of the law created a hidden abortion surcharge in many health care plans on exchanges throughout the nation, requiring enrollees to--in some cases unknowingly--subsidize elective abortion," the letter to Azar said.

"We continue to urge swift action to finalize the rule in time for 2020 Open Enrollment. Failing to do so will result in another year of noncompliance with the requirements of Section 1303. It is time for the Obama-era regulation to be replaced," the letter concluded.