Saturday, September 28, 2013

House CR amendment protects conscience rights

A vote on the Blackburn amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 Continuing Resolution is expected later this evening.

Section 131(a) delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for one year.

This would mean that the taxpayer subsidies for insurance plans that include elective abortion would be delayed for one year, and the abortion surcharge and secrecy clause would also be delayed for one year.

The last sentence of section 131(a) specifically delays the HHS preventive services mandate for one year with regard to employers and individuals who have a moral or religious objection to such coverage. This provision is similar to the protections contained in Section 3 of Rep. Diane Black’s Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940) and would apply for one year.

UPDATE: The Blackburn amendment delays taxpayer subsidies for insurance plans that include elective abortion by delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until January 2015; and delays the HHS preventive services mandate for one year for religious and moral objectors. The amendment passed by a vote of 231-192.

The issue of continuing appropriations now returns to the Senate with this amendment and another amendment regarding the medical device tax.

UPDATE 2: The amendments delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), delaying the HHS mandate for religious and moral objectors, and eliminating the medical device tax, were rejected by the Senate by a vote of 54-46. The Senate has now sent the FY14 Continuing Resolution back to the House, where Republicans are expected to send back a counter proposal later today. The House proposal will be a provision to delay the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance, and cancel health insurance payments for members of Congress and staff, as well as the President, Vice President and political appointees.

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