Nebraska Bill Opts State Out of Abortion-Funding ObamaCare

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 7, 2011   |   1:32PM   |   Lincoln, NE

Nebraska legislators will become the latest to debate a measure that would opt the state of the abortion-funding components of the ObamaCare health care law.

The state would follow others that have passed legislation exercising their right under the national law to opt out of allowing taxpayer funding of abortions under the state health insurance exchanges the legislation creates.

Sen. Beau McCoy introduced the bill yesterday that would prevent state-regulated health care plans from covering abortions unless necessary to save the life of the mother. If passed, the legislation would apply to plans both inside and outside of the health insurance exchanges that will be established under the federal health reform law.

The bill would not apply to self-insured group plans, which come under the scope of the federal government.

“Nebraskans who find abortion morally reprehensible should not be forced to pay for abortions through their insurance premiums,” McCoy told the Omaha World-Herald newspaper.

Another bill, proposed by state Sen. Annette Dubas, doesn’t go quite as far and would only apply to health plans in the exchanges.

Nebraska Right to Life director Julie Schmit-Albin told her group supports McCoy’s measure.

“Sen. McCoy’s bill not only addresses the need to ban abortion coverage in the new state health insurance exchanges, but upholds Nebraska Right to Life’s unwavering commitment to the unborn by including private insurance policies,” she said.

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.

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.