by Steven Ertelt
September 28, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life health care insurance plan for federal employees that doesn’t pay for abortions? That’s what the Bush administration is offering thanks to President Bush’s faith-based initiative.
The new plan, announced last week, is run by a Catholic insurer OSF Health and will not pay for abortions, contraception, artificial insemination or sterilizations and it part of a $1 billion initiative to encourage faith-based groups to participate in social welfare programs.
According to the New York Times, the plan is a health care savings account combined with a high-deductible coverage.
The plan will first begin signing up federal employees who live and work in the state of Illinois in November and expand later beyond that.
Abby Block, a senior official in the Office of Personnel Management, which manages the plan, told the Times that it is the first for federal employees that "has tailored its benefits in line with a set of tenets that are supported by the Catholic Church."
Under federal law, federal health insurance plans are prohibited from paying for most abortions, but can pay for those for women who have been victims of rape or incest. Federal law also mandates that insurance companies providing health care for federal employees pay for contraceptions.
However, the faith-based initiative plan opens the door for federal workers to choose private plans that conform fully to their pro-life views.
Nancy Valko, a spokeswoman for Nurses for Life, says that’s good news for pro-life advocates.
"The benefits from a plan like this are economic as well as spiritually satisfying," Valko explained. "If successful, such plans can change the face of health care for the better and not just for federal workers."
Valko said that options such as this are important as more states are beginning to require health insurers — including Catholic health plans — to cover abortions and other objectionable procedures.
As more abortions are covered, Valko says "health insurance premiums will naturally have to rise."
Related web sites:
OSF Health Care – https://www.osfhealthcare.org