Washington state's new abortion debate: Who pays?
With Obamacare set to take effect, lawmakers are mulling a measure that would make health insurers foot the bill.
Terminating a pregnancy is an issue that spurs fierce moral and religious debates. Now, Washington state is adding another layer to the debate: Who's responsible for paying the doctor's bill?
State lawmakers are debating a law that would put the onus on health insurers, requiring them to pay for elective abortions as part of their plans' maternity care, according to The New York Times.
It's an unusual discussion, given that the trend in abortion coverage has recently leaned toward conservative viewpoints. About 21 states have restricted access to abortion by barring insurers from covering the cost of pregnancy termination, according to ThinkProgress.org.
But Washington has taken a pro-choice stance on this issue for many years, becoming the only state to have legalized abortion through a popular vote in 1970.
While the future of Washington's bill is unclear -- a Republican state senator on Monday stalled the legislation despite a majority of senators expressing support -- the debate raises the question of whether women or insurers should pay the bill. As the Affordable Care Act is set to take effect next year, more women will likely join the rolls of health care insurers.
Abortion has become increasingly concentrated among poor women, with 42% of those undergoing the procedure with income below the federal poverty level, the Guttmacher Institute reports. Poor women also have five times the rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions as higher-income women, the reproductive health research group notes.
On top of that, one-third of abortion patients have no health insurance. Partly as a result of that, 57% of women pay for the procedure out of their own pockets, Guttmacher says.
The average cost of a first-trimester abortion is $470, which means low-income women often need time to come up with the funds, the institute notes.
The Washington bill, called the Reproductive Parity Act, is coming as lawmakers anticipate changes due to Obamacare, reports the Associated Press. The bill aims to maintain coverage that exists in many plans already serving residents.
"Today every carrier and nearly every plan in Washington already covers abortion," Elaine Rose, an executive with Planned Parenthood, said at a hearing on Monday as quoted in The New York Times. "The Reproductive Parity Act will keep it that way."
Why does one American have to pay for another Americans problem because they treat sex as a recreation and/or don't have the resposibility to keep their pants on? Very stupid society we have become! How about Obama and the rest of the democrats paying for my movie ticket? I'll buy the popcorn!
The State of Washington is against killing a criminal but could care less about killing a baby.
Shame on you.
It's all part of the grand scheme (aka Obamacare). Keep lumping mandated coverages on the insurance companies until they can no longer remain in business, or have to raise their rates too high for anybody to afford. When that happens, the only alternative will be a government run single payor system, and those of you who actually believe that it will run as well as the Canadian system will be in for a big surprise. Medicare is one of the most corrupt government-run boondoggles in the world, and it's only a fraction of how big a single payor system will be.
Government should be regulating the cost of "HEALTH CARE" and "DRUGS", not the cost of health insurance. Too many politicians are reaping huge profits from investing in drug and health care provider companies, and we all let it happen by re-electing them.
if you want an abortion then both parents should sign and they should pay for it . not us tax payers or the insurance company's
Is that how we think about abortion? How much does it cost? Is that all there is to it?
Abortion is death. Abortion is murder regardless of the circumstance.
That is not to say abortion is not acceptable in the case of rape or incest.
Other than that, the mother and father are the ONLY ones responsible.
Anyone that wants government to pay for their abortion should mandatorily have their tubes tied.
If the abortion is used as a form of birth control, then it should be paid by the pregnant individual. Abortions SHOULD NOT be used as birth control. Period. It is your CHOICE to have irresponsible sexual relations that lead to a pregnancy. If you aren't responsible enough to wrap it up when having sex, then you should be held responsible in the end result of your actions. Take responsibility people...even though I know this is the error of displacing blame and responsibility on others.
If the pregnancy is the result of a sexual violation or is going to endanger the life of the woman carrying the child, then it should be covered. Can't this be considered the same as an "elective" procedure like plastic surgery? You elected to have irresponsible sexual relations with someone therefore you elect to cover yourself for the consequences.
This liberal state is useless. I need to get out of WA before I lose my mind. People in this state elect people based on party-lines, not what makes sense. Liberals stated that they didn't like Patty Murray or Maria Cantwell yet they still voted them back in. Why? They couldn't vote for a conservative so they went with the worse evil because they were liberals.
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