July 28, 2017
NRLC urges Senate to extend Hyde Protections to the Senate Bill’s Tax Credit
The Better Care Reconciliation Act contains several essential elements that mark a substantial improvement from the Obama Health Care Law. The bill creates a “State Stability and Innovation Program” which will bring many changes to both the private market and to plans eligible for tax credits. The “State Stability and Innovation Program” contains protections wherein plans that utilize these important dollars cannot cover elective abortion. Because the “State Stability and Innovation Program” is seated in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), it is currently prohibited from paying for elective abortion – and this prohibition is part of the program permanently.
CBO estimated that plans utilizing the “State Stability and Innovation Program” funds will have premiums that are 20-30% lower than those plans not utilizing the funds. It is likely that the cost pressure to access these funds will have the practical effect of making abortion-containing plans far more expensive and highly undesirable. However undesirable and expensive, plans eligible for tax credits could still continue to legally cover abortion.
If the Hyde protections are struck from the bill’s tax credit provision, this amendment from Sen. Strange would ensure that all plans eligible for tax credits would be subject to the SCHIP Hyde protections already in law. The amendment would direct premium assistance through SCHIP’s stability fund. Sen. Strange’s amendment no. 389, would keep the tax credits, but reduce the amount of subsidy to 10% of their existing amount, and direct funds through the “State Stability and Innovation Program” at an amount of 90% of what the credits would have been.
Importantly, that 90% match for premium assistance through SCHIP would be subject to SCHIP’s existing Hyde protections.
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