Bracy v. Burwell
Description: Federal law forbids taxpayer subsidies for elective abortions; however, the Affordable Care Act requires that every plan that includes abortion offered on any Obamacare exchange must collect a separate fee used exclusively to pay for abortions. This abortion surcharge is not listed in the premium but is instead added in to the total premium. The Connecticut state health exchange only offered plans that include abortion coverage, and thus every plan on the exchange required this abortion surcharge. Consequently, the Bracy family of Connecticut had two options: violate their conscience and faith by personally subsidizing the abortions of others or be penalized with steep fines.
Conn. family won't be forced to pay Obamacare elective abortion surcharge
Attorney sound bite: Casey Mattox
ADF Legal Communications Director Kerri Kupec will be available to discuss the resolution of the lawsuit at a press conference at 2 p.m. EST Thursday at the U.S. House Triangle in Washington, D.C. The press conference concerns the launch of a new website by the Family Research Council and Charlotte Lozier Institute that exposes abortion-funding health plans in Obamacare.
“Americans should not have to pay a special fee for other people’s abortions in order to take care of their own family’s health,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “The Bracy family has experienced first-hand the kind of deception that was used to pass and that continues to pervade this law. While we are pleased that Connecticut families will now have a choice to avoid paying this abortion surcharge, it is a shame that other families won’t have that choice, and that most Americans don’t even know that they must pay this secret fee.”
Federal law forbids taxpayer subsidies for elective abortions; however, the Affordable Care Act requires every exchange plan that includes abortion to collect a separate fee that is used exclusively to pay for abortions. The ACA further forbids disclosure of the abortion surcharge to customers.
The Connecticut state health exchange only offered plans that include abortion coverage, and thus every plan on the exchange required the hidden abortion surcharge. While plans not requiring the abortion surcharge will now be available in Connecticut, many families in Connecticut and elsewhere are unaware that a portion of their premium is being used to pay solely for abortions.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has confirmed that people seeking coverage on the exchanges in Hawaii, New Jersey, Vermont, and Rhode Island continue to have no choice but to enroll in a plan requiring an abortion surcharge. All plans nationwide that include abortion coverage require the surcharge, but the ACA requires that it not be separately disclosed in the bill.
Barth and Abbie Bracy had insurance through a private insurer until Obamacare forced the company to cancel the policy. Forced on to the Connecticut Obamacare exchange, the Bracys discovered that every plan offered there included a mandatory surcharge that can only be used to fund elective abortions.
Ironically, Barth Bracy is executive director of The Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee and has warned people of exactly the problems his family faced. It was only because of his knowledge of the law that he knew that he would have to pay an abortion surcharge that is not disclosed in the premium.
Michael DePrimo, one of nearly 2,500 private attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, served as local counsel on behalf of the Bracys in Bracy v. Burwell in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.