Everyone’s Three Favorite Things: ObamaCare, Taxes, and Abortion

Next week is the March for Life which is especially meaningful this year, as there are several cases before the Supreme Court during this session that touch on essential questions about the sanctity of life and the relationship of citizens towards our government. The HHS mandate which attempts to force religious organizations as well as private citizens to purchase contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs that are morally objectionable is only the beginning. Hidden deep within the uncountable profusion of federal laws and regulations and the even more impenetrable U.S. tax code is a provision for subsidized abortions.

2012 March for Life (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

2012 March for Life (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Over the course of this year, tens of millions of Americans who already have insurance through their job will, thanks to ObamaCare, learn that their existing coverage is no longer being offered and will either be forced into plans with higher premiums and deductibles or dropped entirely and left to fend for themselves on the federal healthcare exchange which still cannot perform even basic functions like updating beneficiaries. McKinsey estimates this could affect anywhere between 25 to 60 million people. Many of those people carry insurance for their family as well, so the number of households that will be losing their existing insurance due to ObamaCare could be as much as half of the U.S. population.

This process has already started because Obama’s dictatorial delay of the employer mandate came after many companies had already chosen new plans for their employees for 2014. At this date, there are no reliable public figures on how many people have received new insurance cards in the mail this month, but it’s safe to say this is only the beginning of a disruption which will make the millions of people who have already lost their plans in the individual marketplace seem modest by comparison.

Your New Insurance Claim Form

Your New Insurance Claim Form

For many Americans, the new insurance card will also come with new burdensome government reporting requirements. For the privilege of spending their own money on medical bills that used to be covered by insurance, ordinary citizens will now have to file IRS form 8889 every year. Instead of dealing directly with insurance companies and doctors, patients now must first check with the ethics-impaired bullies at the IRS who get to decide what counts as “Qualified Medical Expenses” for the purposes of the tax-deferred Health Savings Account.

What does this all have to do with abortion though? Since the inception of the Medical Savings Account in the 1990’s, the IRS has issued Publication 502 which lists “Qualified Medical Expenses.” According to Forbes, only 6% of taxpayers have typically taken the medical deduction in a given year, so few people had probably ever heard of Publication 502 until now. As it happens, on page five, the first bullet of “Qualified Medical Expenses” is this: “You can include in medical expenses the amount you pay for a legal abortion.” Until now, most people taking the medical deduction were sick enough that their medical bills exceeded both 7.5% of income and the standard deduction, but with the shift toward HSAs under ObamaCare, there is no minimum threshold. The abortion deduction will be used by an unprecedented number of people this year.

In Congressional double-speak tax credits, deductions, incentives, and so forth are actually counted as expenditures. The mentality of our government is that your money belongs to them and that when you pay less in taxes, the government is actually giving you a handout. This roundabout thinking was at the very heart of the closely-divided opinion crafted by Chief Justice John Roberts which preserved the ObamaCare individual mandate in the spring of 2012 by calling it a tax. Thus, the ObamaCare individual mandate is not a penalty for being uninsured, but really amounts to a payment for purchasing coverage.

Congress will gladly help you lighten your wallet

Congress will gladly help you lighten your wallet

When it comes to the Health Savings Account, the Congressional Budget Office employs the same pretzel logic when coming up with reports that “score” various budget proposals. Instead of saying that HSAs result in lower tax revenues, the Congressional accountants call the deduction for your medical bills a “tax expenditure” even though it is you that is doing all the expending. Nevertheless, this is the language that Congress uses, so when we talk about “taxpayer funded” abortions we should take Congress at their word.

In another interesting twist, the Hyde Amendment language that would ordinarily prohibit the use of taxpayer funds for abortions only applies to appropriations for HHS. The IRS and the tax code are not included and doubly so, because “tax expenditures” are also considered “off-budget.” In the upside-down fun-house of horrors that is the Congressional budget process, it’s easier to give your money back to you by “appropriating” it (provided you fill out all the necessary IRS forms, of course) than to just let you keep your own money in the first place. If nothing else, ObamaCare will do wonders to keep the U.S. Postal Service in business with all the new paperwork the law has created.

As a result of ObamaCare, tens of millions of Americans will find themselves losing their traditional health insurance and being moved to high-deductible plans combined with Health Savings Accounts. Now that the IRS has taken over the role of their insurance agent, they will be surprised to learn that they can now pay for abortions from this tax-free account. By the logic used to uphold ObamaCare in 2012, the government is in essence paying people to have abortions. This is all despite President Obama’s promises and his worthless Executive Order to appease the Bart Stupak surrender caucus that no taxpayer funds would be used for abortions in ObamaCare.

Even if we ignore the accounting fiction that tax deductions are an expenditure, this is no less horrifying. Killing babies should not be given a tax break comparable to buying an electric car or installing solar panels. The latter is perhaps foolish but harms nobody. The former is grotesque and barbaric. Let us pray that if anything good comes out of the national tragedy of ObamaCare, it will be an end to the subsidized slaughter of the innocent.

3 thoughts on “Everyone’s Three Favorite Things: ObamaCare, Taxes, and Abortion

  1. MorganB says:

    I thought President Obama removed the “forced” funding of procedures that are objectionable to religious organizations. The Little Sisters of the Poor need only sign a self-certification that it opposes providing coverage for contraception, its employees will not receive such coverage. The Little Sisters continue to reject this offer. I think their lawyers are misdirecting the sisters. Am I wrong?

    1. Vincent says:

      The document that that the Little Sisters are supposed to sign is not just an exemption form. It is also a legal authorization for someone else to cover the contraceptive services to which they have a moral objection. I think their complaint is legitimate. They have been faced with a choice to face crippling fines that would prevent them from conducting their ministry or sign a paper authorizing someone to do something that violates their religious beliefs. I think this is a clear violation of freedom of religion. The only thing that makes their case complicated is that their insurer (presumably the entity that would provide the contraception coverage) is also a religiously exempt entity. I still don’t have a clear idea what the law requires in this case as far as who, if anyone, would provide the contraception coverage if both the sisters and their insurer are exempt.

  2. Vincent says:

    I think it is worth pointing out that Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) are actually a way of reintroducing market dynamics to a Byzantine health care system that hides true costs form consumers. With an HSA, the consumer reaps rewards for spending less on health care and becomes more aware of what the actual costs of health services are. This drives costs down and allows people to have lower premiums. If you are in favor of free market reforms to the health care system, then you should be in favor of HSA’s and things like health care exchanges where consumers can actually compare health insurance products on an apples-to-apples basis.

    If there is a problem with what qualifies as a tax exempt medical expense, that is a separate issue. But (1) don;t blame that on HSA’s, and (2) don’t blame that on Obama, but on the congress in the 1990′s that enacted those rules.

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