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Finalizing HHS rule on 'hidden abortion' charges is urgent, senator says

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Washington D.C., Jul 11, 2019 / 09:00 am (CNA).- Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith insisted that bringing in a new rule to end hidden abortion costs in insurance policies is a matter of “urgency.”

The senator made the call after a letter, signed by more than 125 members of Congress, was sent to Department of Health and Humans Services Secretary Alex Azar earlier this month urging him to finalize a rule that would make explicit surcharges for elective abortions within many health insurance plans.

In an interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly’s Catherine Hadro set to air on Thursday, Hyde-Smith (R-Miss) said that the effort to expose hidden charges connected to abortion in health insurance plans is a priority.

“The urgency is there to make sure that it is disclosed if you’re paying for that, for any type of an abortion service, that we know that,” she said.  

As CNA previously reported, the proposed “Patient Protection Rule” would require insurers selling health plans under the Affordable Care Act that cover elective abortions to collect a separate payment from enrollees for that coverage. Under the Obama administration, insurers were permitted to collect these payments together. Pro-life lawmakers say these Obama-era collection practices violate existing law. 

Twenty-five senators and 103 members of the House of Representatives signed the letter to Azar calling for the “swift finalization” of the proposed pro-life rule.

Hyde-Smith, who was the primary signatory of the letter in the Senate, said that the sense of urgency on the matter is “the reason that I wanted to be a lead sponsor on this letter.”

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She argued that HHS should move quickly to finalize the Patient Protection Rule because it would bring transparency to any health insurance policy “that covers any type any part of the abortion process.”

“Right now there’s some hidden things in there and we just want clarity, we want exposure,” she said, adding, “When it’s intended to hide, that’s when we have to come in and demand transparency.”

Hyde-Smith said her pro-life convictions inspired her efforts to push HHS to finalize the rule.

“I’m here to protect all life,” she said.


Kate Scanlon is a producer of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

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