Congressional lawmakers accused the Biden Administration of using regulations for the Tri-Agencies – Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS; Labor Department and Treasury Department – to create a slush fund for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
The Committee on Education and the Workforce submitted a letter to HHS secretary Xavier Becerra, Treasury secretary Janet Yellen and Department of Labor acting secretary Julie A. Su, opposing rules seeking to eliminate an exemption to contraceptive coverage services for groups and organizations that have moral objection to such services.
The rules also create a program, not authorized by Congress, which allows women enrolled in plans provided by objecting entities, to access contraceptive services at no cost.
Under the plan, a contraceptive services provider can seek reimbursement from a qualified health plan, and when agreed upon, the health plan company can receive a lower federally facilitated exchange user fee.
Congress argues that when the Obama Administration created the accommodation process in 2013, it did not allow the use of the exchange fee to apply to anything other than the administration of the exchange.
HHS also proposed to allow contraceptive providers in a state that does not permit FFE or state exchange fee to seek reimbursement from an issuer in a state that does.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the letter explains, the fee is not to be used to furnish, fund, or reimburse a health care service, and nothing prohibits HHS from raising the fee in the future to help offset the cost of individual contraceptive arrangements in the future.
“The Tri-Agencies are essentially using the ACA user fees as a slush fund to pay for contraceptive services,” the letter, signed by Republican representatives Virginia Foxx and Bob Good, reads. “This will set a dangerous precedent that would allow these fees to fund virtually any type of health care service.”
The committee said it opposes proposed rules that create an unauthorized program aimed at providing free contraceptives to anyone covered by employer-sponsored plans, adding that if Congress believed the program was needed, it would have put a program in place with the proper oversight and accountability.
The new rules also provide funding for programs like Planned Parenthood, and the committee argues that the new rules violate religious rights of Americans.
Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to inquiries on the matter.
“We oppose the Tri-Agencies’ removal of exemptions for entities and individuals that object to the contraceptive coverage requirement based on moral convictions,” the letter reads. “The proposed rules flagrantly violate current law and Americans’ rights. They create an unauthorized program paid for by an Obamacare slush fund to further the radical agenda of abortion supporters.
“In doing so, they violate constitutional and religious rights. This is nothing more than a political ploy to create a new funding stream for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood under the guise of delivering preventative health care to women,” the letter added.