Democrats call on Trump Administration to rescind new proposal aimed at discouraging insurers from covering abortions

Jan 9, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) today led a bicameral group of more than 200 members of Congress in calling on the Trump administration to rescind a newly proposed rule that seeks to limit women’s access to abortion care.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the lawmakers said the administration’s new proposed rule goes against Congress’ intent to protect abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act and, if approved, would jeopardize care for women across the country.

“This rule ignores Congressional intent on abortion coverage, would create consumer confusion, and would be costly for both insurers and consumers,” the lawmakers wrote. “When safe abortion is not accessible, it puts women’s lives in danger. If affordable abortion access is denied, women will return to the dark times of seeking unsafe, back-alley abortions.”

If approved, the administration’s new rule would require health insurance companies to send consumers two separate bills for any abortion care they receive. It would also require consumers to make two separate payments for that care. 

Opponents of the rule claim that requiring multiple bills and multiple payments for any abortion care is yet another thinly-veiled attempt by the Trump Administration to eliminate coverage for abortions. They also claim that requiring multiple bills and payments will not only increase the cost consumers have to pay for such services, it would also create such confusion among both consumers and insurers that many insurance companies would likely decide to stop providing coverage for abortions care altogether.

“Women in America have a constitutionally protected right to access abortion care, period,” DeGette said in a separate statement today after the letter was sent. “The Pro-Choice Caucus has and will continue to fight back against each and every attempt by the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress to limit women’s access to safe and effective health care, which fundamentally includes reproductive rights. We should be working together to make healthcare more affordable and more accessible for all Americans, not limiting women’s access to the care they need by implementing confusing, arduous, and completely extraneous regulations.”

The letter comes as DeGette prepares to take over as Chairwoman of the Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations panel which oversees HHS. The Colorado Democrat, who has been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights on Capitol Hill, is also the co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.

In addition to DeGette, the letter was co-signed by over 180 Representatives in the House, including Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). A similar letter opposing the rule was also sent today by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and others in the Senate. 


The text of the letter sent by DeGette and others is below and a PDF of is available HERE.