State Bill Would Ban Abortion Coverage in Policies Purchased Through Exchanges
Women in Pennsylvania who use the health insurance exchange to be established under the federal health care reform law would not have coverage for abortion even if their health was at stake, according to a bill under consideration in Harrisburg.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Donald C. White, R-Indiana, would prohibit coverage for abortions in insurance provided through exchanges, except in cases of rape, incest and the threat of imminent death of the mother.
White’s Chief of Staff Joe Pittman said that even though the health insurance to be purchased in the exchanges is with a private company, abortion should be excluded because the exchanges are being established with government funding. Additionally, low-income buyers will qualify for government subsidies, creating a more direct tie between taxpayer money and abortion.
“What we’re proposing is nothing different than is already current practice with government subsidized insurance in Pennsylvania,” said Joe Pittman, White’s chief of staff.
The bill is in the senate Banking and Insurance Committee, of which White is chairman. Pittman noted that the bill passed the senate in the session that ended last year, but did not get to the full House of Representatives for a vote. He said there is no timetable for action on the bill in this session.