Friday, August 18, 2017
Washington's Top News (August 12, 2017): Texas set to restrict insurance coverage for abortion, by The Associated Press
A bill that would require women to purchase separate insurance for abortions that are not medical emergencies has passed the Texas state House after hours of debate. The next step is the Texas Senate which could pass the bill as early as tonight. After that the bill would be sent to the Texas Governor, Greg Abbottt. If signed into law Texas would follow in the footsteps of several other states that have laws which restrict health insurance coverage of abortion.
Supporter of the bill Republican Rep. John Smithee states that the proposed law, "applies only to 'elective' abortions and promotes 'economic freedom' by not forcing Texas policyholders who object to abortion to 'subsidize' insurance coverage for women undergoing the procedure". Democrats however argue that this move is purely political since most insurance companies only cover medically necessary abortions. Democrat Rep. Chris Turner states that this law would essentially require women to purchase "rape insurance" since the law would not have a rape or incest exception.
Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute states, "my sense is that there isn't any identifiable impact of these restrictions since most women pay out of pocket already". According to the Guttmacher Institute about 60 percent of insured abortion recipients pay out of pocket. The insurance ban has also been condemned by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which says that abortion procedures should be compared to other essential health care procedures.