Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Supports ObamaCare Opt Out Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 16, 2010   |   12:50PM   |   Madison, WI

A Wisconsin pro-life group wants the Badger State to become the next to opt out of the portions of the ObamaCare health care law that could result in massive abortion funding.

Wisconsin Right to Life is pressing for a bill that Senator-Elect Rich Zipperer, a Pewaukee Republican, and Rep. Robin Vos, a Racine Republican, have promised to sponsor in the upcoming legislative session.

The pair announced months ago that they will sponsor legislation to remove Wisconsin from the abortion funding mandate in the state-based insurance exchanges created by Obamacare.  

“Until Obamacare is struck down in the courts or repealed by Congress, it is important that Wisconsin take the steps it can to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortion coverage,” Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, told LifeNews.com today. “The Zipperer-Vos legislation will accomplish that goal.”

She said there are numerous abortion-funding provisions in Obamacare that states are unable to undo. But states may opt-out of abortion coverage in the state-based insurance “exchanges.”

Thousands of Wisconsin citizens have already added their names to the “Opt-Out Wisconsin!” petition WRTL has sponsored. The petitions will be presented to Governor Scott Walker on February 15 when hundreds of right-to-life leaders head to Madison to attend the 2011 Wisconsin Right to Life-Christian Life Resources Legislative Conference.

Conference participants want Walker to know they stand with him in his opposition to tax funding of abortion coverage.

Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana have passed similar bills that have already been signed into law by governors in those states and several other states are expected to consider legislation in their upcoming legislative sessions. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.

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 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.”

“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,” says Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, who is pushing for an opt-out bill in his state.

When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances.

Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.

However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn’t have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn’t tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.

Under the new health care law, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges that are available for individuals and small businesses.

The exchange doesn’t go into effect until 2014 and states are filing lawsuits seeking to stop the pro-abortion health care bill in its other pro-abortion provisions entirety, but states are moving now to exercise their right to opt out of some of the abortion funding.