What's Hiding in Obamacare?
Remember “we have to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it?” Well, in some cases, “you have to buy it to find out what’s in it.” And all too often, what’s in it is abortion.
Under the last administration, the government did everything it could to keep consumers in the dark about their plans. They even got insurers involved, blocking companies from explaining the abortion surcharges up front. In other words, most Americans who were shopping for a plan on the exchange had to wait until they got their statement of benefits until they knew if the policy violated their beliefs. And even then, they might not even know how much the abortion surcharge was!
The good news is that pro-lifers have options. The bad news is that they didn’t know what those options are — until the last few years. That’s when FRC and the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) teamed up to turn the flood lights onto the Obamacare exchange with a special website that’s dedicated to telling you what the Obama administration wouldn’t: which state plans include abortion. Since 2014, ObamacareAbortion.com has helped users search through insurance carriers to find out which ones cover elective abortions and which don’t. For Americans on the exchange, it’s been a significant step forward for anyone who wants to fill in the blanks on their policy benefits before they commit to them.
Now that Obamacare’s 2019 enrollment is open, FRC and CLI want to make sure that you have all the information you need. Together, we’ve updated the site to bring more transparency to the process, highlighting — through interactive maps and fact sheets — which plans cover abortion and which don’t. And unfortunately, the news isn’t exactly positive. If you’re one of the unlucky people living in Alaska, California, D.C., Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, or Washington, there is no pro-life option. Every single exchange plan in these areas covers abortion on demand (which, if you’re keeping track, is two more states than last year.)
But that doesn’t mean taxpayers in other states are off the hook. A whopping 650 Obamacare state exchange plans cover elective abortion in 2019 — a 23-percent jump over 2018! As far as taxpayer-funded abortion in general is concerned, the total amount of premium tax credits for plans that cover abortion climbed almost $3 billion – from $8.6 billion in 2017 to $11.2 billion in 2018. Hold on, you’re probably thinking. Didn’t 26 states opt out of abortion coverage in their exchange plans?
They did, but because two big states — California and New York — decided to offer only abortion-inclusive plans, the overall dollar amount subsidizing the procedure went up. Others of you might be wondering why taxpayers are picking up an even higher tab for abortion under a pro-life president. But frankly, there isn’t much the White House can do. That’s Congress’s job. Ultimately, the only way to stop paying for abortion in Obamacare is to repeal and replace the law. And Republicans haven’t managed to do that. Until they do, every taxpayer will be forced to fund abortion on demand — even if their own state opts out. That’s just the nature of the Obamacare tax credits.
All of this is just more incentive for Congress to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion law. Until then, consumers at least have a right to shop for plans they can purchase in good conscience. The Trump administration has been a major partner in that effort, doing everything it can to create more transparency. Until Congress can overturn the law, the White House is at least working to give pro-lifers as much information as possible. Under this president, insurers have no choice but to come clean about the separate abortion surcharge. In fact, thanks to a new HHS regulation, companies are now required to bill people separately for the abortion coverage — a major departure from the Obama years, when officials went to great lengths to hide the fact that it was even included.
“Abortion,” FRC’s Patrina Mosley points out, “is not healthcare and the majority of Americans have already said they do not want their hard-earned tax dollars subsidizing insurance coverage that includes the taking of unborn human life. We hope that this resource serves to inform them of their pro-life options and to remind the country of the great work still left before us in untangling Americans from the abortion business.”
Check out the site today and make sure you’re informed before you’re insured!
Originally published here.
Baker’s Case Gives Rise to Life Changes
When baker Jack Phillips won his Supreme Court case this year, it was hugely important to religious liberty — and, it turns out, a whole lot more.
Standing by his convictions wasn’t always easy for Jack. He lost a big chunk of business and years of his life to the lawsuit brought by a same-sex couple. “And then there was the hate mail, nasty phone calls, and death threats pouring in,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) points out. While the real-life drama played out in courtrooms across Colorado and D.C., the entire country watched — including Jack’s nephew, Sean.
In a heartwarming story from ADF’s Sarah Kramer, Americans are learning about another victory that came from the Masterpiece case — this one with eternal ramifications. While his Uncle Jack was going through one of the worst chapters of his life, Sean didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ. He had a hard time understanding why the Phillipses were taking such a stand. “Jack could have been angry or bitter about the situation,” Sarah writes. After all, he endured more than his share of hateful treatment.
Just watching it all unfold made Sean angry.
“But in observing and talking with Jack,” Sarah explained, “he saw a quiet example of what it looks like to live a life in obedience to Christ. Over time, Sean let go of his anger. He dug into the Bible to understand the comfort that Jack had in Christ and how he could withstand such hardship with grace and peace. And eventually, God drew Sean to himself.”
Jack’s nephew gave his life to Christ. And, as others will tell you, he’s a changed man. But he’s not the only one. As Jack himself says, “[We’ve] been blessed to see countless other Christians, who’ve watched the effect of this case on our lives, stand up boldly and with greater confidence. Some weren’t standing up at all, and now they are firm in God’s teachings.” That, more than anything, is deeply encouraging to the Phillipses. “…I think it is one of the most beautiful things that could happen to anyone in a similar situation — to know that other people will be encouraged and, in turn, will encourage others. That really has made all of this worthwhile.”
Originally published here.
Lunch Prayer Ban Dismissed as Baloney
Christianity isn’t a disease — but Texas school was determined to treat it like one. At Honey Grove Middle School, a group of students were “caught” praying at lunch in the cafeteria — and quarantined.
“Y'all don’t do that again,” said Principal Lee Frost, who walked over to the group and stopped them. If the students wanted to keep praying, he told them the next day, they’d better move behind a curtain, meet alone outside, or hide out in the gym. In other words, they couldn’t be anywhere where anyone could see them. But the kids weren’t doing anything wrong — and their parents got First Liberty Institute involved to prove it.
In a letter to the Honey Grove School District, attorneys pointed out that students shouldn’t have to be “exiled” to pray for one another. “The right to pray is constitutionally protected activity… By mandating that Hannah and the other students hide when they pray, Principal Frost sends a message to Hannah [Allen] and all the other students in the school that prayer is illegitimate, disfavored, and should not occur in public…Even Establishment Clause concerns cannot justify such treatment. Any perceived danger in students seeing their classmates praying is no greater than the danger in students seeing prayer banned from public view.”
Late last week, Honey Grove got the message. “To the school district’s credit,” First Liberty attorney Keisha Russell explained on Friday’s “Washington Watch,” they “respond[ed] immediately.” Although there was some concern that the cafeteria prayer is disruptive, they agreed to let Hannah and her friends continue their lunchtime tradition. From now on, Keisha said, they won’t be “forced to hide or go into isolation to exercise their faith. And I think that’s important for their peers to see — their friends being free to exercise their religion, and also voice whatever speech they feel is necessary. In this case, it was private student speech, and the school really isn’t permitted to ostracize the students because that speech is religious…”
The important point for parents, Keisha made sure to say, is that “student speech is highly protected in the law.” If your son or daughter is being silenced or censored at school, stand up and fight back! The Constitution, Supreme Court, and Department of Education are on your side!
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.