Healthcare

Federal laws prevent federal money from paying for abortions; that depends

I don’t want to get involved in the pro-life, pro-choice debate, but the Republican’s misguided attacks on Planned Parenthood are going to make paying for abortions a major issue unnecessarily. 

Abortion coverage is not required health care under the Affordable Care Act. Under state law some states prevent insurers from covering abortions, others require it. Obamacare plans are generally regulated by the states. Since federal law does not prevent coverage, 70 million or more Americans enrolled in employer self-funded plans which are not regulated by state insurance laws are likely to have coverage. 

Federal money cannot be used to pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood receives much of its revenue from Medicaid, but not for abortions. But if you think your tax money does not subsidize the cost of abortions, you would be wrong. 

Some plans under Obamacare cover abortions, and many employer plans cover abortions. In both cases there are federal tax subsidies to offset the cost of coverage. The first is direct premium subsidy and the second is the tax-deductibility of employer contributions for the employer and the tax-free nature of contributions for the employee. So you decide, what health care is “paid for” by federal dollars?


The point is that so-called defunding of Planned Parenthood is a red herring and meaningless political rhetoric. 

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8 replies »

  1. Just love how they focus on this one factor and ignore all of the subsidies already built into Medicare and Sicial Security – to favor the lower paid and those with breaks in their employment. There have ALWAYS been folks above and below the average, in 1935 and today. So, returning to an appropriate age for full benefits, as has been eroded since the last change in 1983, is now somehow less “fair” than in the past?

    My father died at age 53 in 1969. I was 17. No survivor benefit if any significance.

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  2. Wow. Your write that tax money subsidizes abortions but somehow that does not affect Planned Parenthood which is the largest provider of abortions. You operated in the business world, so you know that money is fungible.

    Definition: fungible: Being of such a nature or kind that one unit or part may be exchanged or substituted for another equivalent unit or part in the discharging of an obligation.

    Both the Left and Right know what the game is, and what is at stake. That is why it is such a big political issue.

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    • It’s quite simple. Medicaid does not pay for abortions so unless in the rare case PP provides services to a person with other insurance, there is no federal money involved in any way.

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      • I see, so tax money subsidizes abortions but does not fund them. Thanks for that crucial distinction without a difference.

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      • The distinction is relevant only in the context of defunding Planned Parenthood because such a move is being done under the false perception that this organization is somehow unique in being paid for abortions which is not true. It is prevented from such funds to the same extent any other health care provider in the US is.

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  3. “But if you think your tax money does not subsidize the cost of abortions, you would be wrong. ”
    That statement true. The defunding of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions, would significantly decrease that subsidy. Therefore the defunding of Planned Parenthood is not meaningless either to conservatives who are for it, or progressives who are against it. It is a major issue for good reason.

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    • There is no federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The only way they get federal funds indirectly is through providing health care services to Medicaid patients, but those services do not and can not under the law include abortions. So-called defunding PP would mean reducing Medicaid payments to the states which has no impact on abortions, but a significant impact on services to poor people.

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