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Government/Politics

Texas Senate Takes Up Legislation To Drop Abortion From Federal Health Exchange

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Ryan E. Poppe
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A Senate committee at the State Capitol has taken up a bill that would allow Texas to opt out of coverage for abortions under insurance plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act, but some members of the Senate State Affairs Committee see the bill as an effort to make abortions uninsurable.

Under Friendswood Republican Sen. Larry Taylor’s bill, people signing up for insurance plans under the federal exchange wouldn’t be granted coverage for an abortion. But Taylor told his fellow colleagues that the state would not completely rule out insurance coverage for these types of procedures.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
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Friendswood Republican Sen. Larry Taylor, author of SB 575

“Specifically this bill opts Texas out of covering abortions in the federally mandated exchange, which 25 other states have also done. And it removes abortion coverage from the standard package of benefits offered in private insurance plans while making abortion coverage available through supplemental plans,” Taylor explained.

The Texas Department of Insurance’s Doug Danzeiser said that under the Affordable Care Act, states were granted permission on how to regulate abortion coverage.  

Others on the committee, like Laredo Democrat Judith Zaffirini, are worried about the bill causing the rates of the few supplemental policies for abortion to skyrocket. She questioned Danzeiser about the impact of the legislation. “So is it correct to say that the purpose of this bill is to make abortion uninsurable?” Zaffirini asked.

Danzeiser replied, “I don’t think we can say at this point.”

He later confirmed that the bill could affect the price of these supplemental policies.

The legislation would exempt coverage where abortion was deemed a medical emergency, but that does not include cases of rape or incest.  The bill made it out of committee on a vote of 6 to 1 and will be scheduled for a vote before the full Senate.