There is a lot of disagreement over new developments regarding coverage for a state health care exchange. Two articles from the NY Times discuss the issue: 1) Restrictions in Private Insurance and 2) Virginia Lawmakers Limit Coverage.
Abortion is already a controversial topic. So is health care insurance. So, it is only to be expected that the two together would spark a lot of disagreement. The number of bills limiting abortion rights have been passing more often within the past few years due to Republican controlled legislatures. In the 1990s, only a dozen or so were passed, compared to the 35 bills that were passed last year.
There are already restrictions on low income women receiving abortion aid due to federal spending laws, but part of the issue now is worry about future restrictions. Many people are worried that if these abortion restrictions pass (currently five states have bans on abortion coverage), these policies will be the norm not the exception. In fact, this is exactly what happened with contraception coverage. After many states mandated contraception coverage, it is now the norm. Right now, many employers and employees do not know that most employer based health insurance provides abortion coverage. The health care reform debates brought this issue to light, and now abortion opponents are trying to use the opportunity to restrict abortion coverage in private plans.
I wonder how this will affect other areas of coverage, especially since most of the people who will be covered through the exchanges will be low and middle income groups. People may argue that these groups are already limited in their health insurance, so why not officially limit certain coverage. But what happens when that doesn’t stop at abortion coverage? Will other services be cut, especially if people’s perception of what is “normal/typical” coverage is dictated by the number of states that has laws regarding them (ex: contraception)?