CV NEWS FEED // Congressional Democrats are reportedly planning to use their $3.5 trillion “human capital” infrastructure package to create a new federal healthcare program that would work around the leadership of pro-life red states which have rejected Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
Democrats are likely to present their proposal as a way to get “needed” healthcare coverage to Americans being “held back” from the benefits of Obamacare by Republican state lawmakers.
Pro-life critics, on the other hand, are decrying the plan as an expensive and underhanded way to finance abortion-on-demand in states where the unborn are the most protected, while also bypassing longstanding bipartisan rules like the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
“The move, coming as part of the $3.5 trillion package Democrats are now crafting, would provide coverage to the more than 2 million people who are currently ineligible because they live in the 12 Republican-led states that have declined to accept the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” The Hill reported Wednesday. “This population currently falls through the cracks in what is known as the ‘coverage gap.’”
As CatholicVote has reported, March for Life Action President Thomas McClusky recently wrote to Congress to denounce the Democrats’ efforts to remove pro-life protections like the Hyde Amendment from funding legislation. In his letter, McClusky also warned against the creation of a “parallel Medicaid program” to fund abortions:
In addition to abortion subsidies and expansion of state health care exchanges that pay for abortions using tax dollars, the Reconciliation bill is expected to include language similar to legislation first introduced by Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) that would bypass state authority and pro-life protections in relations to Medicaid. This new language creates a parallel Medicaid program, financed through direct appropriations and only Federal funds, to bypass current pro-life protections and state legislatures, to provide the equivalent of Medicaid coverage for those 12 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid. It would directly fund abortions on demand without copays or premiums – and could pass in theory with 50 votes. The incentives included in the legislation would affect more than just the dozen states that have refused Medicaid expansion as more states would probably switch over to this look-alike program as it puts less of a burden on states to match funds.
The Democrats’ goal of paving the way for a new “public healthcare option” has also received pushback from some in the healthcare industry, according to The Hill:
“We have significant concerns with any proposal that would establish a new Federal Medicaid look-alike program to fill the coverage gap,” the Federation of American Hospitals wrote to Congress this month. “The formation and implementation of a new federal program or a Medicaid public option would be complex and costly, burdened by bureaucracy and rulemaking that would unnecessarily delay access to care for millions.”