The Senate will vote this morning on SB 113, which would prohibit insurance exchanges set up by the federal health care reform law from offering coverage for abortions. Women who wanted abortion to be covered could purchase a separate "rider," but currently no such riders exist. And even if they did, no one ever anticipates an abortion, so it's likely no one would ever purchase the extra coverage anyway. The bill also contains no exceptions for rape or incest. We'll have an update after the vote.
UPDATE: A clarification. The bill would prohibit PRIVATE insurance companies from covering abortions they offer in the state insurance exchange. See the information, from the ACLU website, on the jump.
UPDATE II: SB 113 was passed by the full Senate today by a vote of 27-8. It now heads to the Public Health Committee in the House.
CALL OR EMAIL YOUR SENATORS NOW! ASK THEM TO:
Vote NO on SB 113 by Sen. C. Bledsoe — Abortion Insurance Exchange Ban
What the bill does:
SB113 prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion in plans they offer in the state insurance exchange created by the federal health reform law. Women who want abortion to be covered must purchase a separate abortion rider outside the exchange, and currently no such riders exist anywhere in the country. This bill would make it nearly impossible for a woman purchasing insurance inside the exchange to spend her own money on coverage for abortion. It is an unprecedented intrusion into private health insurance.
Ø There is no such thing as an abortion rider. No one anticipates needing an abortion, so no one is going to be able to purchase a rider, even if such a thing existed.
Ø SB113 contains no exception for rape or incest. This bill forces victims of rape or incest to foot the bill to terminate a resulting pregnancy.
Ø If a pregnant woman was diagnosed with cancer and needed chemotherapy and to have an abortion as a result, she would have to pay for it. Not only would and her family be facing the horrible circumstances of dealing with cancer and losing a wanted child, but they’d be faced with an additional expense because this bill would ensure that her insurance company would not be allowed to pay for it.
Ø This bill is NOT about ensuring tax dollars aren’t spent on abortion — the federal government already stipulates that no federal dollars can be spent on abortion in the exchanges (except in the case of rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother). This bill restricts what people’s private insurance premiums can be spent on.
Ø Even though Medicaid recipients can receive abortions in cases of rape or incest, the sponsor has made it clear that she does not want individuals or small businesses who buy private insurance through the exchange if the woman is pregnant as a result of rape or incest.
Ø This bill discriminates against people who purchase their insurance through the state exchange. By restricting coverage in the exchanges, this bill forces insurance companies to offer worse plans in the exchange than the plans they offer to large employers. It unfairly discriminates against people who are self-employed or employed by small businesses.
This bill goes up for a vote THURSDAY 1/27/11 IN THE SENATE. CONTACT YOUR SENATORS NOW!