Missouri Could Be 5th State to Opt Out of Abortion Funding Under Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
June 21, 2010
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Missouri could become the fifth state to opt out of at least some of the abortion funding under the health care bill President Barack Obama signed if Governor Jay Nixon signs a bill the state legislature approved. Four states — including Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana have passed similar bills.
Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal is expected to sign the measure its state legislature passed any day.
Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, told LifeNews.com "Missourians will not be required to subsidize abortion through health insurance policies sold in the state" if Nixon signs the bill.
The legislation would "prohibit federally-subsidized health plans authorized under the new federal health care bill from including abortion coverage."
Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville, the sponsor of the pro-life measure, says, "This legislation protects Missouri’s longstanding desire not to use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions, and it’s especially important now that the federal health care mandate attempts to do just that."
Obama’s recently-enacted federal health care law, known as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," establishes health insurance exchanges in each state. Insurance policies marketed through those plans benefit from federal subsidies.
Individuals of low-to-moderate income are eligible to receive refundable tax credits and cost-sharing reductions which they may use to purchase abortion coverage.
"In addition, if a health insurance company offers a plan that includes abortion coverage, they are required under the new federal law to impose a separate abortion premium. This abortion surcharge must be collected from every enrollee in the plan regardless of their age, gender, or family status," Ortwerth says.
In the federal bill, the opt out clause provides that "a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange in such state if such state enacts a law to provide for such prohibition."
Senator Rupp’s proposal stipulates that "no health insurance exchange established in the state or any health insurance exchange administered by the federal government or its agencies shall offer health insurance contracts, plans, or policies that provide coverage for elective abortions."
Rupp’s bill, Senate Bill 747, was amended late in the session to the pro-life ultrasound bill sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer. That proposal was then adopted by the Missouri Senate on a 32-1 vote, and then endorsed by the Missouri House of Representatives by a vote of 114-39.
Now, Nixon can either sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.
Ortwerth says Missouri has a long history of protecting its citizens from underwriting the killing of pre-born children through their health insurance premiums.
"A law adopted by the General Assembly in 1983 prohibited elective abortion coverage in health insurance policies issued in the state except through an optional rider. The Rupp proposal prohibits coverage through riders in the new health insurance exchanges as well, since the policies would be subsidized by taxpayers," he said.
The bill won’t stop all of the abortion funding under the Obama health care measure.
"Missouri taxpayers will still be forced to pay for abortion paid for through federally-subsidized health plans in other states where similar opt-out legislation is not adopted," he said.
ACTION: Contact Governor Nixon and urge support for the opt out bill.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.