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Florida Abortion Public Funding Ban Would Extend to Reform’s Health Insurance Exchange

| March 14, 2011

(© Willem Velthoven)

Two measures that would bar public money from subsidizing abortion coverage in Florida in nearly all cases, even indirectly, passed the Senate Health Regulation Committee on Monday.

SB 1414 would apply to policies sold on the health-insurance exchange that will be set up by 2014 as part of the federal health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Stephen R. Wise, R-Jacksonville, would block the purchase of policies that include abortion if public money is involved in any way – as a subsidy for the person who is shopping for coverage, for example, or as a business tax credit.

The other measure that passed, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution, would prohibit any public funding for abortion unless the patient herself would die without one. It is sponsored by Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami.

Unlike Sen. Wise’s bill, it would make no exception for cases involving rape or incest. Flores explained: “If you believe it’s a life, you need to protect it.”

But some senators found the omission in the amendment, Joint Resolution 1538, troubling. Two said that they would support it in committee with the understanding that those two exceptions must be added, and with their votes it passed 7 to 5.

“Before I vote for this on the floor, that’s going to have to be in there,” warned Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg.

If the constitutional amendment is approved by the Legislature and the voters, it would apply to coverage for state employees and local-government workers throughout Florida, such as teachers, police and firefighters.

Neither of the measures would allow for any public money to go toward coverage of abortion when the patient’s health is deteriorating from the pregnancy – as long as she is not likely to die — or when the fetus is deformed or terminally ill.

The health-exchange bill would have the effect of taking away the kind of insurance now held by 86 percent of those covered by employer-sponsored plans, said Stephanie Kunkel of Planned Parenthood.

Wise said those who want insurance for abortions could take a separate policy, or rider. But Sen. Eleanor Sobol, D-Hollywood, said states that have tried that approach found that companies don’t offer them.

Sen. Mike Bennett said he personally opposes abortion but couldn’t support measures that take away personal freedom.

“I have a problem as a Republican telling companies what they can and can’t offer and telling consumers what they can and can’t buy,” said Bennett, R-Bradenton.

The ACA allows states to set up their own health-insurance exchange or to use one provided by the federal government. Florida officials, who are suing to have the ACA thrown out, have not said which path they will follow if they are unsuccessful.

–Carol Genrty, Health News Florida

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6 Responses for “Florida Abortion Public Funding Ban Would Extend to Reform’s Health Insurance Exchange”

  1. Gloria says:

    Wow, so the 158 rape cases in the United States that ended up in pregnancy last year and their subsequent abortions of these forced pregnancies will be the last ones to get financial help for these situations? So the message is, if you get raped you have to have the baby if you have no money.
    What policy covers such a thing anyways? None! This is all fueled by religious zealots.
    Now women will be forced into delivering the babies of incest & rape and also while they are sick or their life is at stake. What a backwards country we live in. Men can get insurance coverage for Viagra but women get no health care for infertility or pregnancy due to rape. Worse then that, we can’t even teach proper sex education in the schools for fear that some parent is going to freak it when their kid learns something about sex.
    People are worried about health care and the Govt? Women have had the Govt up in their uteruses for decades, now these bastards are starting to call the shots on what goes on in the womb. This is a step back for Rowe v Wade.
    What’s next, banning of abortion all together?
    I hope all you die hard religious pro-lifers are ready to adopt some unwanted children.

  2. maryphilpot says:

    My wife and two children and I live in the state of Illinois. Our current health insurance plan is a Choice Plan that is provided by “Wise Medical Insurance” . The plan itself is a consumer driven health care plan.

  3. John Boy says:

    How many of these fools, right wingers, have daughters that are out fucking like mad while doing drugs but are too ignornat to realize it?

  4. kmedley says:

    If the US Congress would vote and pass legislation that would allow for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, then many in Florida could take advantage of a plan such as offered by “Wise Medical Insurance”. I think the Florida legislature should have included an in the event of rape, incest and health of the mother clause with the legislation. The idea of having an abortion as a simple method of birth control, in my opinion, is wrong and should not receive public funding. Public funding wasn’t required for the woman to become pregnant, so why should public funding be used to end the pregnancy?

  5. Dorothea says:

    Kmedley, just for the record, public funding for abortion has not been available for many years. But, in regard to your statement that women should not use abortion for birth control, unless we institute an abortion police force to investigate every reason for every abortion, how would we know? Would a woman who doesn’t want to go through the rigors of a rape trial, be forced to bring the matter to trial? What if the assailant is found not guilty? Is the woman then denied an abortion. Better that abortions be available during the first trimester without everyone else sticking their noses into this private and very personal decision.

    As for the Florida lawmakers, they are beyond any rational reasoning. Let them get people back to work, provide the uninsured with health insurance and stop using every bill that comes down the pike for their far right agenda.

  6. John Boy says:

    Who says you can’t buy Health Insurance from or acros State lines now. Assurant Health is located in the mid west and sells policies throughout Florida and many other States. Watch out for big problems however because the Florida Insurance Commissioner has no control over out of State Insurance Companies. after experiencing problems with this company, the State Commissioner, the FBPR and the BBB all said to me that you should never buy any product from any out of State company. The reason being that companies locate to the Sates with the worst comsuner protection, lax fraud laws, etc. and pry on connsumers. The axample cited was Credit Card companies have relocated to Sates with weak controls and then when you have problems, your on your own.

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