December 8th, 2011
Reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
The state House debated a bill on Wednesday that would prohibit insurance coverage of abortions for low-income people under health insurance exchanges that the federal health care law would establish in 2014.
The House may consider the legislation for final passage next week, said Rep. Matt Baker, R-Wellsboro, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee.
The insurance exchanges would provide coverage for people now uninsured or those who can’t afford much insurance, including between 700,000 and 1 million people in the state, according to figures from the Pennsylvania Health Law Project.
The Supreme Court must uphold the health care law for the state exchanges to become a reality. Baker said state officials are debating exactly what the exchanges would look like and what they will do. Loosely defined, the exchanges are government-created marketplaces to make insurance more affordable.
The intent of the bill by Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion County, is to prevent coverage for most abortions under the exchanges because they will be supported with public money. She said her bill is consistent with existing state law that prevents public money to be used for abortions.