Episcopal Oversight

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					                            Short Takes

                            Timothy Stoltzfus Jost
                            Episcopal	Oversight
                            hoW the Bishops ConferenCe Gets heAlth-CAre leGislAtion WronG

                                       n May 20, 2010, the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities   governing CHCs prohibit them from providing abortions not
                                       of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops      permitted by the Hyde Amendment (42 C.F.R. § 50.303),
                                       issued a statement supporting H.R. 5111, sponsored       and (2) the funds appropriated for CHCs under section 10503
                            by Congressmen Joseph R. Pitts (R-Pa.) and Dan Lipinski             are not paid directly and separately to CHCs but are rather
                            (D-Ill.). H.R. 5111 is prolife legislation intended to protect      “transferred to the Secretary of Health and Human Services
                            the unborn and the consciences of health-care providers, and        to provide enhanced funding” for CHCs. These funds will be
                            it is not surprising that the USCCB should support this bill.       inextricably commingled with funds otherwise appropriated for
                            Unfortunately, the USCCB used this occasion to attack once          the CHCs, and these funds are covered by the Hyde Amend-
                            again the major health-care legislation that was signed into        ment. Finally, the executive order issued by the president
                            law in March, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care            under his constitutional authority to oversee the executive
                            Act (PPACA). The USCCB continues to misunderstand the               agencies prohibits the use of these funds for abortions not
                            provisions of PPACA and contributes to confusion about its          permitted under the Hyde Amendment.
                            content. This analysis is intended to correct the USCCB’s              The USCCB letter once again raises the canard that “a long
                            erroneous characterizations of PPACA, and to clarify what           line of federal court decisions” has interpreted similar statutes
                            the legislation actually says and does.                             to fund abortions in the absence of an explicit congressional
                               First, the USCCB letter repeats earlier claims that under        prohibition. The USCCB has not been able to point to a
                            the new act federal funds will be used to subsidize health plans    single federal court decision that has ordered the funding of
                            that cover abortions. Section 1303(b)(2) of PPACA, entitled         abortions that were prohibited by a federal regulation and an
                            “Prohibition of the use of federal funds,” states clearly that      executive order. Court decisions have required states to fund
                            the premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available       abortions not prohibited by the Hyde Amendment under
                            under PPACA cannot be used by any health plan to pay for an         their Medicaid programs, but these cases have no rele
Description: [...] the USCCB letter claims H.R. 5111 is necessary because appropriations under PPACA for community health centers (CHCs) can be used to pay for elective abortions. [...] the executive order issued by the president under his constitutional authority to oversee the executive agencies prohibits the use of these funds for abortions not permitted under the Hyde Amendment.
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