Abortion Insurance Opt-Out
H.B. 4143 - Rep. Jud Gilbert
H.B. 4147 - Rep. Jud Gilbert
H.B. 4776 - Rep. Sharon Tyler
After exactly one year of resting on the Senate floor, the Senate took up and passed S.B. 612-614 on December 6, 2012, by votes of 27-11. Later that same day, the House of Representatives inserted the language of S.B. 612 & 613 into two other Senate bills that had previously passed the Senate and were being considered by the House. S.B. 1293-1294, which addressed the restructuring of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, were not directly addressing the abortion insurance opt out issue. But with the Senate having already passed the Opt Out bills and the Blue Cross bills, the House chose to consolidate the issues into one set of bills. The House approved the combined Blue Cross-Opt Out bills (S.B. 1293-1294) on December 6, 2012.
Despite being the initiator of the Blue Cross reforms, Governor Snyder - to the surprise of everyone - vetoed S.B. 1293-1294 on December 28, 2012, citing the abortion Opt Out language as going too far in regulating the private insurance market. The governor also indicated his preference that insurance plans should automatically cover abortions for cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life or health being at risk. With the veto of this legislation, plans were made to immediately reintroduce the bills in the 2013-2014 session.
S.B. 612-614 were introduced on September 7, 2011, and were reported out of the Senate Health Policy Committee on December 7, 2011 with a 7-1 vote. Right to Life of Michigan and Citizens for Traditional Values testified in favor of the bills, while Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the National Organization for Women testified in opposition.
H.B. 4143 and 4147 were introduced on January 26, 2011 and referred to the House Committee on Health Policy. H.B. 4776 was introduced on June 16, 2011 and also referred to Health Policy.
The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal health care reform legislation enacted in March 2010, requires that all 50 states operate insurance "exchanges" to provide more access to health plans and information about plans for both individuals and employers. The ACA contains a provision allowing the states to exclude abortion as a covered benefit in the health insurance plans operating under the exchange. This provision is known as "the abortion opt-out."
Polls taken during the debate on health care reform consistently showed strong opposition to the funding of abortion in health insurance plans. Regardless of their views regarding the legality of abortion, the great majority of voters do not want to pay for abortions with their tax dollars in public plans, or subsidize abortion through their premium dollars in private plans. Six states, including Wisconsin, now exclude standard abortion coverage from all health care policies in those states. Abortion coverage is available only through an optional rider.
This bill package was introduced in the 2009-2010 session by Senators Jud Gilbert, Mark Jansen and Wayne Kuipers, together with Reps. Sharon Tyler, Paul Opsommer and Brian Calley. The bills did not move out of committee during that session.