In recent public addresses, President Obama railed about the supposed "outrageous myths" surrounding his plan for health insurance reconstruction, a plan that is often shilled as health care reform.
One of the things he attempted to refute was that voluntary, non-medically required abortions would be covered under Obamacare. Reuters quotes Obama in a weekly address in August: "Some are also saying that coverage for abortions would be mandated under reform. Also false."
Much like President Obama's statements about illegal immigrants and Obamacare, in a Rovian sense what President Obama asserted is true, or at least not completely false. There are no provisions in any of the legislation currently in play, HR 3200 being the only one of importance for now, that mandate coverage for abortions. This is completely true, but it is another example of President Obama's disingenuous nuance. Even with the very narrowly passed Capps Amendment there is nothing preventing Obamacare from effectively subsidizing voluntary, non-medically required abortions.
Obama has said in the past that "reproductive services" would be covered by his public option, therefore it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover such abortions unless Congress expressly prohibits that action. Low-to-moderate income persons who would choose the public option would qualify for federal subsidies, "affordability credits," to purchase it. Private plans offered on the proposed healthcare exchange which cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of such affordability credits. Said Obama in an address to Planned Parenthood in July 2007:
We’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services, as well as mental health services and disease management services, because part of our interest is to make sure that we’re putting more money into preventive care.
The then-Senator Obama's campaign spokespeople later confirmed and clarified that Obama included abortions in those "reproductive services."
Despite any sophistry and legalism, despite any shifting funding from one column to another on the books so as to avoid violating the Hyde Amendment or the proposed Capps Amendment, which essentially applies the Hyde Amendment to HR 3200, if public subsidies are provided for the purchase of health insurance and the policies purchased cover voluntary abortions then Obamacare will, in effect, cover said abortions and use American tax-payers' dollars to do so.
So is the claim that ObamaCare will cover abortions an “outrageous myth?” No, but it is an oversimplification of the matter. This is very much the same as President Obama’s outrageous myth that Obamacare won’t cover abortions.