Fifth District Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn sounded a warning note to anti-abortion Coloradans Thursday detailing his concerns that “Obamacare,” as he continues to call the national health care legislation passed earlier this year, would expand taxpayer-funded abortion. In a release to constituents, the Colorado Springs Republican said that new government-supported insurance programs being set up to provide insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions may cover abortion.
Lamborn said he has written Gov. Bill Ritter and the head of Rocky Mountain Health Plans, the company setting up the program in Colorado, asking for assurances that the high-risk pools won’t provide abortion coverage.
In recent weeks Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Mexico have drafted high-risk pool plans that cover elective abortions using taxpayer dollars.
I am concerned that the state of Colorado will try to offer a plan through its federally-funded high-risk pool, GettingUSCovered, that will go against longstanding U.S. policy of NOT funding elective abortion at taxpayer expense.
The contours of the high-risk pools, however, are far from clear at this time. The federal government has yet to release the rules that will determine how much flexibility individual states will enjoy in setting up the programs.
Monica McCafferty, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, takes exception to Lamborn’s warning note. In fact, she says, the new programs are more restrictive where abortion is concerned than present federal law.
“It is important that Coloradans understand the full story,” she wrote in an email to the Colorado Independent.
Last week the Obama administration announced that abortion coverage will be prohibited in all high-risk insurance pools – including those administered by states – except in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment of the woman. This prohibition goes beyond existing federal law on abortion in that it bans the use of private and other non-federal funds to purchase abortion coverage.
This decision has no basis in the law and flies in the face of the intent of the high-risk pools because they were meant to meet the medical needs of some of the most vulnerable women in this country. In fact, the women who need to purchase private health insurance in the new high-risk pools are likely to have underlying medical conditions that make pregnancy risky or complicate the pregnancy. This restriction will limit their health care options at a time when they need them most.