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Opinion - Opinion
Secret Obamacare clauseTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Mike Johanns

Higher premiums, increased coinsurance and skyrocketing out-of-pocket requirements aren’t the only realities lurking in the 2,000-page Obamacare law, or its seven-foot-tall stack of regulations.

The law is also designed to bury some controversial services that many Americans find morally objectionable.

The law requires federally subsidized plans that cover on-demand abortions to only disclose the coverage deep within a plan’s enrollment documents, to hide it from potential purchasers.

It also creates a monthly surcharge or “abortion fee” of at least $1, paid by each of the plan’s enrollees, to help pay for elective abortions.

But you won’t find any mention of this fee amount anywhere in your health plan’s promotional materials. Insurers are prohibited from disclosing it under Obamacare.

This language is often referred to as the “secrecy clause,” and this is no accident.

The secrecy clause was included in the law and its rules to disguise the true coverage of some health plans from people who, for moral or religious reasons, may prefer to purchase a plan that doesn’t cover on-demand abortions.

And as a result, not only are many Americans unwittingly purchasing plans that may violate their conscience, they are directly funding abortions for others with a portion of their monthly premium.

If the government is going to force you to purchase a product, the least it can do is be forthright about what’s in it.

Instead, the Department of Health and Human Services’ secrecy clause takes away consumers’ abilities to make the best choices based on their needs and beliefs. This “buyer beware” approach to health care is not good for families who are already being forced to cope with the law’s many other costly requirements.

In Nebraska and 23 other states, laws prohibit health plans on insurance exchanges from offering abortion coverage.

But for more than half of the country, these deceitful provisions continue to conceal controversial aspects of the law that many Americans would prefer to avoid. Put simply, the secrecy clause is an affront to those who object on principle to participating in or paying for elective abortion services.

To remedy this issue, I recently joined 19 senators in cosponsoring legislation reversing the secrecy clause.

The Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act requires insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges to prominently disclose in marketing materials and health insurance plan comparison documents whether they include abortion coverage.

The bill also requires insurers to disclose the monthly abortion surcharge paid by enrollees, which funds elective abortions. HHS would be required to comply with this law within 30 days of its passage.

Obamacare should not conceal important information that may cause individuals to unintentionally violate their own deeply-held beliefs -- yet another reason why this law should be repealed.

I will push for passage of commonsense disclosure bill that sheds light on what is covered by each insurance plan under Obamacare, and allows Americans to make the best decision based on their health care needs and their moral compass.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/6/2014
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