Guest Column from Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati*
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” Elvis Presley
If we can say anything good about President Obama’s health law it is that it has forced us as citizens to delve into the intricate details of where our tax monies are being spent under an increasingly Socialist agenda. What we find is a beast.
The Tea Party’s fiscal vigilance is a source for hope. Thank you, especially for recent efforts to oppose Ohio’s participation in federal Medicaid expansion.
Because of my work in the pro-life movement, and necessary examination of governmental policies regarding protections for human beings from first spark of life to last breath, I was asked to provide to you a slightly different, yet still disturbing perspective on Medicaid expansion.
Sorting through the un-Affordable Care Act, however, is like nailing jello to the wall, because this document is a living, breathing, growing animal. Just last week, we learned that 700 additional pages had been added to the existing 2,500-page-plus monster, including expansion of abortion coverage.
Also, Section 1303 of the bill simply bypasses federal Hyde Amendment restrictions that federal funds appropriated to HHS by Congress cannot be spent for health benefits coverage that includes elective abortion. One more example of this administration’s overstepping of established law.
The following Medicaid expansion concerns from a pro-life perspective were incorporated into a recent statement from Ohio ProLife Action to Governor Kasich and state legislators. We are urging that they decline federal monies, which are attached to anti-life policies and regulations, and not encourage the federal government to incur greater debt to fund this expansion of federal control over Ohio citizens and their health care decisions.
First, those states that participate in federal Medicaid expansion will be governed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) individual mandate requiring individuals to obtain insurance. Thus Medicaid expansion legislates increased numbers of Medicaid recipients, subject to the so-called HHS Mandate, and entrenches Medicaid in these states as an arm of the federal government.1,2
Medicaid has covered for years, under states’ limited discretion, the same measures that citizens are protesting in the HHS Mandate as a violation of conscience—surgical abortions (in Ohio in restricted cases),3 contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilizations.4,5,6
Medicaid expansion will expand these tax-funded practices to the underprivileged, which not only violate the conscience rights of many taxpayers, but are elective and medically unnecessary procedures and drugs.
Finally, leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is a recipient of Medicaid funding for so-called “family planning” measures,7 and funds for non-abortion procedures frees an abortion provider for its other programs. (Note: Planned Parenthood is under scrutiny in several states for Medicaid fraud.8)
In brief, no ties to the federal health law, President Obama, or his administration are safe. No matter what the appearances, there are no guarantees that this medical monstrosity will stay the same due to the vast discretionary power granted to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, said to be the most pro-abortion politician in the country.
Our only hope is that vigilance from many quarters—Tea Party, pro-life, pro-family, etc.—will influence legislators to work for true financial freedom for our country, not quick fixes that may dupe some in the short term as a good but will soon become a tax and conscience burden too heavy to overturn. Regardless, we ain’t goin’ away.
Paula Westwood is Executive Director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati (CincinnatiRightToLife.org), board member for Ohio Pro-Life Action (OhioProLifeAction.com), and weekly pro-life news contributor for the Son Rise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio/EWTN
1 HHS clarifies exemptions from individual mandate in states that buck Medicaid expansion, http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/280135-hhs-clarifies-exemptions-from-individual-mandate-in-states-that-buck-medicaid-expansion
2 “The Individual Mandate requires people to pay for what the HHS mandate covers (because the HHS Mandate applies to all plans)…” Alliance Defending Freedom, Obamacare and Its Mandates Fact Sheet, p.1 http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/content/docs/facts/ObamaCare-and-its-Mandates.pdf
3 Guttmacher Institute: State Policies in Brief – State Funding of Abortion Under Medicaid http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_SFAM.pdf
4 The Kaiser Family Foundation: State Medicaid Coverage of Family Planning Services http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/8015.pdf
5 “…it is worth noting that state Medicaid programs are already required to cover family planning services without cost-sharing…” The Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief: State Coverage of Preventive Services for Women Under Medicaid http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/8330.pdf
7 For example, in Ohio, http://www.plannedparenthood.org/swoh/family-planning-services-ohio-medicaid-39251.htm
8 Tony, Perkins, Planned Parenthood, Millions in Medicaid Fraud, $15M for Obama Campaign http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/15/planned-parenthood-millions-in-medicaid-fraud-15m-for-obama-campaign/
* In case you were not aware – Cinci RTL is not affiliated with Ohio RTL due to fundamental disagreements on pro-life policy (even though this state organization was begun in Cincinnati in the ’70s and moved to Columbus later). Cinci RTL is affiliated with Ohio ProLife Action.