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Monday, January 9, 2012

Bill Would Require Health Insurance Policies Sold in Washington to Cover Abortion

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 7:03 AM

Rep. Cody, Rep. Jinkins, and Sen. Keiser gabbing about lady plumbing.
  • Rep. Cody, Rep. Jinkins, and Sen. Keiser gabbing about lady plumbing.
Since the passage of Obama's Affordable Care Act, dozens of states have attempted to restrict women's access to insurance-covered abortions. Washington State is the exception: At a press conference yesterday, Representative Eileen Cody (D-34), Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, announced her sponsorship of a bill that would require all health insurance policies sold in Washington that offer maternity coverage to also cover abortions.

Washington State insurers currently couple their maternity and abortion coverage. This bill, called the Reproductive Parity Act, would maintain that status quo through 2014, when every Washington resident will be required to purchase health insurance coverage in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Washington is the only state to introduce such legislation. In stark contrast, thirteen states have passed laws banning insurance companies from covering abortion in the last year.

"The federal bill required that no federal money go towards abortion in the exchange," explained Rep. Cody. "We’re making sure there will continue to be parity between all choices for reproductive rights. There will be one plan that will not offer abortions and that will be the federal plan—all plans offer through the state of Washington will offer abortion."

Dr. Anna Kaminski, a family care physician and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, noted that by the age of 45, one in every three American women will have had an abortion. "Cataract surgery and tooth extraction are the only more common surgical experiences," Dr. Kaminski explained. "And yet women pay about 60 percent more than men in out of pocket expenses for healthcare... It’s not fair to have pregnancy decisions influenced by whether your plan will pay for an abortion or not."

Cody was optimistic that Washington's pro-choice legislators could get the measure passed during the 2012 session, which starts today. State Senator Steve Hobbs (D-44) is sponsoring companion legislation in the Senate. "We have a pro-choice legislature in a pro-choice state and we will be able to move this bill forward."


Comments (22) RSS

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How bout we mandate insurance companies pay for any and all procedures and services? They should cover breast implants, hair transplants, and every single surgery or procedure that anyone wants to have. Oh and keep our rates low while you are at it because we want affordable health care right. As long as we keep asserting that men and women are too stupid to prevent unwanted pregnancies we will have this problem. As a woman I am sickened that the world asserts that because I am too stupid that the government has to rescue me with legislation. How come we want to "empower" women on every issue but this one. Let's you feel more empowered laying on a table allowing some stranger to "remove" your unplanned child from you....or choosing when and where to give birth to your children that you have planned for?
Posted by tnygenie on January 19, 2012 at 1:27 PM · Report this
@20 - One can only hope it also shuts them up.
Posted by spinflux on January 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM · Report this
Soupytwist 20
@19 - I'm think you're probably gonna blow some minds with the idea that some women choose to get pregnant... like, woah.
Posted by Soupytwist on January 10, 2012 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Kitts 19
@TechBear You do realize that pregnancy is also elective, yes? Women choose to get pregnant, and their insurance covers it.

If a woman does not choose to get pregnant, but becomes so anyway (birth control failure, rape, etc.), abortion stops being an elective procedure, and becomes an important medical procedure that should be covered by insurance, just like insurance covers the removal of benign tumors, treatment for disfiguring facial rashes, medication for ADHD, etc. None of these things are likely to be life-threatening (unlike pregnancy), but left untreated they can have a pretty big impact on the person's quality of life.

If you're trying to argue that insurance companies should have no restrictions whatsoever on what they cover, that's a different issue, and you should just say that. But abortions are often more medically necessary than many other things insurance companies cover, and implying that abortion is some sort of luxury procedure is just insulting.
Posted by Kitts on January 10, 2012 at 8:28 AM · Report this
the idiot formerly known as kk 18
@4: And insurers should be required to cover the costs of assisted suicide. It's cheaper, everyone is going to die and it's legal.
Posted by the idiot formerly known as kk on January 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
@12 - I never said I have that authority, only that I am uncomfortable with where this bill leads.

@13 - They tried that, from 1996 to 2000. The result was that insurance companies stopped writing any kind of policy in Washington. The state was forced not only to backtrack, but make huge concessions. I am leery of heading back down that road.

Posted by TechBear on January 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
I'm the benefits manager for a tech company in Seattle. When we switched to a new health insurance carrier they asked if we wanted to cover certain voluntary procedures. I asked which procedures and was handed a piece of paper with a box I could check to cover abortions (not worded that way on the form). No oversight, no vote, no accountability, just two guys in a room making a choice for hundreds of woman. I asked about cost and the insurance guy said it wouldn’t affect our rates.
Posted by HR Guy on January 9, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Allyn 15
@14 thanks, Cienna. One down, 6,664,193 left to go.
Posted by Allyn on January 9, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 14
@Allyn, you have my vote.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on January 9, 2012 at 9:48 AM · Report this
Allyn 13
I think we should tell insurance companies that if they want to do business in Washington then they need to cover comprehensive health care, not bits and pieces. Their ability to pick and choose what they’ll cover is adding to increased costs. Let’s make it easy on the health insurance companies: they cover it all or do business elsewhere.

Of course, I also think that the state should open up apple health to everyone with a valid Washington state address…. So, there’s that.

And we should have an income tax. And sales taxes should be only for items costing over $100-ish. And anyone who utters the words “intelligent design” without audible contempt should be fined. And initiative sponsors should be limited to three in a lifetime.

Vote for Allyn for Governor.
Posted by Allyn on January 9, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 12
@8, thankfully, it's not up to you to decide what is medically necessary for individual pregnant women--just as no one is asking you to be "comfortable" with other people's private medical decisions.

As the post states, this bill doesn't expand abortion coverage in Washington state. It simply ensures that equal coverage for maternity care and abortion--which all insurance companies offer in WA state through their policies--continues in its current form.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on January 9, 2012 at 9:21 AM · Report this
its too late.
your enthusiasm for slaughtering babies is obviously suspect.
please turn in your homoliberal ID card and exit the blog.....
Posted by mountains of corpses and rivers of blood on January 9, 2012 at 8:37 AM · Report this
It costs $200,000-300,000 to raise a kid.

But women forego an abortion because their insurance won't cover a $200-300 abortion?

maybe Barbie was right about math being too hard......
Posted by Mommy would have killed you but the rent was due.... on January 9, 2012 at 8:35 AM · Report this
And, for what it is worth, I would strongly oppose any move to prohibit coverage of abortion. I have no problem with insurance companies who wish to pay for that service: my problem is with making such coverage required by law.
Posted by TechBear on January 9, 2012 at 8:24 AM · Report this
@7 - I strongly support a woman's right to chose. That is a very different issue from requiring insurance companies to pay for abortion -- for ANY procedure -- that is neither medically necessary nor a matter of routine health care.

@3, 4 - You make good arguments as to why insurance companies would voluntarily cover abortion. But they are not arguments for making abortion coverage mandatory.

@6 - I very much agree that contraception should be made available for free or minimal cost, and that the proper use of contraception should be a required part of health education classes from grade school through university. I have no problem with the fact that, in Washington, insurance coverage of contraception is required: that is a matter of basic health care maintenance. I just do not see abortion as falling in that same category.
Posted by TechBear on January 9, 2012 at 8:20 AM · Report this
@2: It's a good thing your personal comfort level doesn't decide policy.

Let's put it this way. If I were to get knocked up despite taking every precaution otherwise, the abortion I get is not elective. It's necessary. There is no way in fuck I'm carrying anything to term. If not a medical abortion, I would find some other way to miscarry. Life will NOT find a way in this body.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on January 9, 2012 at 8:04 AM · Report this
If 1 in 3 statistic is anywhere near true, we should start handing out birth control on the street corners. Or else put it in the water.
Posted by WestSeven on January 9, 2012 at 8:03 AM · Report this
Abortion should be readily available in blue states.
It is good for the nation if Liberals kill their babies before they can grow up and vote.....
Posted by that clump of cells will never vote Democrap.... on January 9, 2012 at 7:49 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 4
@2: My understanding is that if a bill covers maternity care, it'll cover abortion. The idea being, once a woman is pregnant, she requires one of two (sets of) medical procedures within the next nine months. We call delivery non-elective and abortion elective, but why should that be the assumption?

From a health insurance POV, abortion costs a lot less than maternity care throughout pregnancy + delivery. From a health risk POV, there's much less danger in an early-term TA than in all the possible secondary issues that can come up over the next nine months + post-partum period.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on January 9, 2012 at 7:44 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 3
@2, it's a huge net savings over covering the expense of a pregnancy. Just look at it that way, if nothing else.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on January 9, 2012 at 7:39 AM · Report this
I understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure I would support such a bill: abortion is, in the vast majority of cases, an elective procedure, and I'm uncomfortable with requiring that insurance providers cover elective procedures.
Posted by TechBear on January 9, 2012 at 7:33 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 1
Wow. That's wonderful.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on January 9, 2012 at 7:27 AM · Report this

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