As the Republicans take control of both houses of Congress while simultaneously bringing yet another anti-Obamacare case before the Supreme Court, conservative Christians are regaining their enthusiasm for abolishing the Affordable Care Act. And the leading cry in their cause is that “Obamacare Funds Abortions.” The Republican pundits and politicians have pounded into Christian minds for a few years now that a vote for national healthcare is a vote to kill babies.
This confusion can be resolved with one very simple solution: reading the law. If you go to pages 65-67 of the Affordable Care Act (sec. 1303 & 1304), you’ll see that it goes to great length to make it clear to everyone that the ACA is abortion neutral. It says that states are free to make laws that prohibit insurance companies from covering abortion. It says that the ACA does not require any insurance company to cover abortion. And it says that it has no effect on state and local laws that address abortion. Yet, despite all of these facts, the Republican politicians and pundits have convinced millions of Christians that Obamacare funds abortions.
What many ACA opponents fail to realize is that there is no such insurance company or entity as Obamacare. Rather, insurance companies like Blue Cross and Aetna offer insurance plans that meet the criteria required by the ACA, which do not include abortion coverage. For example, my Obamacare card says “Independence Blue Cross” on it. Blue Cross provides the insurance as they always did. But now I am able to be self-employed and have insurance that I could not otherwise get due to pre-existing conditions.
Republicans feel they can technically get away with saying that the ACA funds abortion, because some insurance companies who now offer insurance that meets ACA guidelines have been covering abortion services as a part of their plan all along. They covered it before the ACA was passed, and they continue to cover it, because the ACA is abortion neutral and has not barred any insurance company from covering it, nor has it encouraged or required any insurance companies to cover it.
What anti-Obamacare abortion opponents fail to realize is that many of them were personally funding abortion before the ACA was passed. For example, if an employee had an insurance company through their employer, and they had to pay 25% of the premium, and that insurance company covered abortions under some of their plans, then that employee funded abortions through their premiums paid to the insurance companies. This was something that their employer was effectively forcing them to do (unless they chose not to accept the benefit of health insurance, which few people do), not the government. As I like to say, Republicanism is the idea that tyranny imposed by government is evil, while tyranny imposed by corporations is freedom. The Religious Right was fine with the fact that Christians were personally funding abortions through their insurance companies, as long as there was no government funding involved. But now that the government is helping some people pay for their health insurance, suddenly the Religious Right is in an uproar about it. This is because it’s the corporate wealthy who control the Republican politicians and pundits.
So the next time a Christian tells you that Obamacare must be abolished because of abortion, you may just want to get their email address and send them a link to this article.