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How the American Health Care Act protects Life

Majority Whip Office: Steve Scalise

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Washington, March 17, 2017 | comments

Establishing pro-life protections in the Patient and State Stability Fund:  The bill establishes a new Patient and State Stability fund to support state healthcare markets.  States can use these funds to stabilize their insurance markets and help reduce premiums and deductibles for low-income Americans.  States may also use these resources to promote access to preventive services, like annual checkups, dental and vision care.  Critical pro-life protections would apply to these funds.

Blocking Obamacare’s abortion subsidies:  Obamacare broke with long-standing law by creating abortion surcharges and establishing a segregation of funds accounting gimmick.  A GAO report in 2014 demonstrated that over 1,000 Obamacare plans covered elective abortion. Those plans were purchased with taxpayer subsidies in the form of premium tax credits and small business tax credits.  Until the tax credits are fully phased out in 2020, the bill modifies them so that they can no longer used to purchase health plans that include abortion.

Prohibiting abortions through refundable tax credits:  Instead of Obamacare’s tax-payer funded payments to plans covering abortion, the bill creates a new refundable and advanceable tax credit for health insurance, which cannot be used to purchase insurance that covers elective abortion.  This is consistent with the Hyde amendment, and ensures that federal dollars do not subsidize abortions.

 Defunding abortion providers:  The bill stops mandatory funding, including Medicaid reimbursements, to “prohibited entities” for one year.  These prohibited entities are non-profit, essential community providers that received over $350 million in Medicaid funding in fiscal year 2014 and provide elective abortions.  Significantly, this would stop mandatory funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.  This language was included in the reconciliation bill, H.R. 3762, in the 114th Congress.   

Supporting community health centers:  The bill provides a $422 million increase to the Community Health Center Program for fiscal year 2017.  The funds are provided by amending the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which has language applying the Hyde amendment to the Community Health Center Program for the duration of the appropriation.  Community health centers are locally-based, patient-centered organizations that provide health services to medically underserved individuals.  Unlike boutique clinics such as Planned Parenthoods that generally only provide reproductive health services and abortions, community health centers provide comprehensive medical, dental, mental health and other primary care services.  These services also include STD testing, cancer screening and family planning and contraceptive management.

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