Wednesday, January 25, 2017

House moves to ban coverage of abortions for some private policies

Republicans push ahead with plans to hinder insurance coverage for abortions

Republicans in Congress are advancing a bill that imposes a far-reaching ban on private insurance coverage for abortion services for as long as the Affordable Care Act remains in effect and would make permanent a longtime ban on the use of Medicaid to cover abortions.

The bill, H R7, would allow Donald Trump to fulfill a promise that helped his volatile presidential campaign secure the support of major anti-abortion rights activists. 

In an open letter published in September, he vowed to sign the Hyde amendment, a perennial budget rider that Congress has approved every year for 40 years, into permanent law. 

Since 1976, the Hyde amendment has prevented millions of women who rely on Medicaid, the government-funded insurance for low-income individuals, from using it to cover their abortions.

But if the bill passes, the most immediate changes will be felt on the insurance exchanges where millions of women purchase healthcare coverage.

HR7 prohibits insurance carriers from offering policies that contain abortion coverage on the exchanges set up under Obamacare to sell insurance coverage to individuals. 

It prohibits low-income women who qualify for a healthcare subsidy from receiving it if they purchase a healthcare plan that covers abortion. 

And it would withhold the small business tax credit from employers who offer policies with abortion coverage.

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