A bill in the state Senate Public Health Committee aims to ensure taxpayers will not foot-the-bill for abortions within the upcoming health care exchanges.
Legislation from Senator Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee) would bar insurers – within the subsidized networks – from offering abortion coverage. He says the bill is an assurance those exchanges will not violate existing law, which bans tax dollars from being used for the procedure.
Zipperer says a number of states have already taken advantage of federal law which allows such an abortion opt-out.
Stacey Harbaugh with ACLU of Wisconsin testified against the bill. She says with state funding cuts to other family planning programs it will be increasingly difficult for women – in need of the procedure – to come up with money for the expensive care.
State Representative Terese Berceau (D-Madison) testified against the bill calling it a danger to women’s health access. She adds it will be private insurance companies running the health plans. “The exchange is part of a government program but the government is not funding the insurance policies.”
Panel member Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) disagrees, “it depends on how the exchanges are set up.”
Establishment of state health care exchanges is part of a requirement under federal health care reform.