No wonder Shimkus is frustrated

December 12, 2013 

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus is usually an easy-going guy, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had him frustrated and upset this week.

A video went viral of an acrimonious exchange between the two at a congressional hearing. Shimkus was upset because he couldn't get basic information about which insurance plans on the federal exchange cover abortion and which don't.

He asked Sebelius at a hearing in October for that information, and she promised to provide it. Didn't happen. So he asked again this week, and this time she told him the information is on the healthcare.gov website.

Well, if it's there, it is buried deep in the layers of data.

A check of the site map shows categories such as "What are my breast-feeding benefits" and "What are my birth-control benefits," but no mention of how to find out information about abortion coverage, which is a huge concern to Americans opposed to abortion.

Part of President Obama's promise to pro-life Democrats, including former Rep. Jerry Costello, was that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions; if abortion coverage is offered, it must be on a separate rider. Without those Democrats' votes, the Affordable Care Act would not have passed. But now that it's law, this issue is of little concern to the Obama administration.

This is part of the reason that 24 states have banned or restricted abortion coverage on policies offered on their health exchanges (Missouri is one of them, but not Illinois). They can't trust the federal government to keep its promise on abortion funding anymore than Shimkus can trust Sebelius to give him a straight answer.

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