Rhode Island Health Care Exchange Violates Conscience Rights
WASHINGTON, DC – Democrats For Life is urging Governor Lincoln Chafee to honor conscience rights of individuals in the Rhode Island state exchange. All the state plans currently include abortion coverage and provide no options for those who have conscience objections to paying for abortion.
“We fought successfully for no abortion funding in healthcare,” said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life. “We stood our ground and secured the right of conscience protections for millions of Americans who will be purchasing health insurance in exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Rhode Island exchange is blatantly violating those conscience rights by hiding the abortion coverage and not offering any alternative plans.”
After long debate and compromise, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) included important conscience protections for those individuals who oppose funding of abortion. It also includes several specific prohibitions on public funding of abortion and an Executive Order by the President to reinforce those provisions. With respect to insurance policies, the ACA included the Weldon Amendment to ensure that no state can discriminate against a healthcare entity, including an insurance plan, for refusing to pay for or cover abortions.
“There is no reason why this information should be hidden or why there is no plan available to those who oppose abortion,” said Day. “Yet, there has been no real effort to ensure that those with conscience objections will be informed or given the option to purchase a plan that excludes abortion coverage.”
The Rhode Island exchange has 28 plans available offered by 3 carriers: Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care, and Neighborhood Health Plan. All of the 16 plans for small businesses and 12 plans for individuals and families include the hidden abortion fee. Under Section 1303 of the ACA, the insurance companies will have to collect a separate premium fee for abortion coverage and keep a separate account for abortion money.