The Trump Administration Is Trying to Discourage Insurance Plans From Covering Abortion

Donald Trump giving a press conference.

The Trump Administration never misses an opportunity to try and make it harder to access abortion, and Friday, October 6th was no different. In one horrible day, the Administration issued a discriminatory rule to roll back the birth control benefit, reversed 2014 Department of Justice (DOJ) policy that interpreted Title VII to protect transgender workers, AND issued guidance intended to gut civil rights protections in the name of “religious freedom.”  But that’s not at all. They also put out guidance to try and discourage insurance plans from covering abortion.
The Guidance Pretends There’s A Problem with Plans Covering Abortion
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance plans that cover abortion have to comply with certain administrative requirements or special rules. The Administration went looking for a problem with how plans follow these special rules because they want to eliminate insurance coverage of abortion entirely.  But they came up short because plans have complied with these rules without problem.
Rather than leaving it alone when they found nothing, the Administration stepped in to address the non-problem and issued last Friday’s guidance. All that guidance does is remind plans these special rules exist. But the Administration tried to do it in a way that makes the special rules sound bigger and scarier than they actually are. The idea was to make insurance companies think that complying with the special rules is just too hard so that they simply drop insurance coverage of abortion rather than try. But again, the rules haven’t changed and plans have been complying with them just fine for years.
The Real Point of the Guidance
If the Administration gets their way and plans drop insurance coverage of abortion, individuals will be forced to pay out of pocket for an abortion,  up to $1500. For too many, that means making the choice between buying groceries and paying rent or getting the care they need. For others, it is simply an insurmountable amount. That is the Administration’s true end goal with this guidance: eliminate insurance coverage of abortion to make it difficult—if not impossible—for people to get an abortion.