I hate the Hyde Amendment banning most kinds of government funding for abortion, but it’s important for everybody to understand that state Sen. Don White’s bill banning abortion coverage in the new health insurance exchange actually goes further than Hyde.
The state insurance exchange will be a one-stop website where everyone goes to comparison-shop for health insurance plans. The participating plans will be subject to a number of different regulations and quality controls under Obamacare, and they’ll have to offer a minimum package of services. The reason insurers will submit to this is because this is going to become the only place people shop for health insurance, and anybody who’s not on this website isn’t going to be selling much insurance in the future.
What Don White is proposing is to ban any private insurance plan that covers abortion from appearing on this website. If you want abortion coverage from your private insurer, you won’t be able to find the plan you want on the insurance exchange.
There are two awful things about this. One is that if private insurers have to choose between participating in the exchange and covering abortion, they’re going to choose participating in the exchange. None of their basic plans will cover abortion. So this could be like a de facto ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.
The other thing is that if you want abortion coverage in your private plan, you’ll have to go back out into the Wild West market for individual plans, which will likely be every bit as confusing and terrible as it is today.
So this is not Hyde. It is an attempt to push private insurers not to cover abortion. Needless to say we should not have any Democrats on this bill.
*Update: original headline said insurance companies would be banned from selling on the exchange, which was inaccurate – it’s the plans that would be banned.