HHS decision to allow for abortion coverage on health plans in California prove why Congress needs to neuter the federal bureaucracy

(BigGovernment.news) Another day, another edict from the vast federal bureaucracy.

Whether or not you support a “woman’s right to choose” to abort her unborn child, decisions regarding health insurance coverage for the procedure has historically been made by Congress.

Not anymore, apparently.

Adding insult to injury for pro-lifers following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas abortion regulation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a decision last week that appeared to allow taxpayer-funded abortions in California, in violation of a longtime congressional mandate.

HHS officials last Wednesday ruled that the California Department of Managed Health Care could require abortion coverage to be included in statewide insurance plans, as the state agency declared in 2014. Before that 2014 mandate, health insurance companies were allowed to exempt customers with religious objections to abortion.

The HHS decision was issued in a statement by the inter-agency Office of Civil Rights.

House Republicans quickly objected, noting that the HHS decision violates the so-called “Weldon Amendment,” an annually issued rule by Congress that bars federal funds from being used for abortion procedures.

“A physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility” may refuse abortions, counseling or referrals, even in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency, states the rule.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued a strongly worded statement about the HHS decision, calling it “unbelievable” and said he and eight other congressmen immediately met with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to express “outrage and bewilderment.”

“The California abortion mandate on its face violates the plain text of the Weldon Amendment, which protects health care entities that do not participate in abortion against government-imposed discrimination,” McCarthy said.

“The text of Weldon — which has been renewed and signed into law annually for over 10 years — makes it clear that a ‘health care entity’ includes health insurance plans. The Department of Health and Human Services’ conclusion that California’s action does not violate the Weldon Amendment ignores the simple truth that requiring a health plan to cease to exist because it does not include abortion is discriminatory.”

McCarthy said the HHS decision “forces the House to explore all legislative options to protect the rights of health care providers in California and across our country who do not wish to participate in a practice that takes the lives of unborn children.”

And, uh, just what “options” would those be?

Are lawmakers going to cut off funding to HHS? Doubtful. Under Article II of the Constitution Congress has the power to impeach Burwell, but of course that isn’t going to happen (though a prudent question to McCarthy and the House GOP leadership would be, “Why not?”). Lawmakers should not have to consider more “legislative options” because if McCarthy is right, existing law is clear – HHS cannot legally do what it just did.

So what is next? A lawsuit? Where in the Constitution does it say, “in all violations of law, the Congress shall file suit against the offending Executive Branch agency…”? It doesn’t, of course.

Once again Obama has outfoxed his Republican counterparts with his usual game of “catch me if you can.” A suit, if filed, will take months of not years to resolve. By the the rule will have been incorporated into the insurance industry in California, and Obama (and probably Burwell) will be long gone. Another U.S. statute willfully violated by a rogue federal agency that belongs to an imperial, out-of-control, Executive Branch-controlled bureaucracy.

Americans are not supposed to be ruled by federal fiat. Congress has a responsibility to grow a pair at some point and take back its constitutional powers and authority. But when will that happen?

Not soon enough. But in the meantime, while the rest of us are forced at gunpoint to follow every little rule and regulation, lest we lose our liberty and our lives, the federal leviathan under Obama continues to act as though it is a power unto itself. And the elites wonder why the electorate is so…Brexit.

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