Health Exchange Reignites Abortion Debate

Aug 20, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Republican state lawmakers are moving to exclude coverage of abortions from any policies offered by the newly-created Kentucky Health Exchange Network, but opponents are calling the effort "unnecessary. "

State Representative Stan Lee, along with five other GOP lawmakers in Frankfort, are calling on Governor Beshear to opt out of providing any plans through the new government-run health insurance exchange that include coverage for abortion. In a video statement, Lee says he plans to take the issue to the General Assembly.

"Surely most if not all of us can agree that taxpayer dollars should not go to fund abortions. Additionally I announce today that I will be pre-filing legislation that would make it illegal to fund abortions through these health care exchanges," Lee says.

But critics point out that Kentucky law already forbids any insurance plans offered in the state, private or otherwise, from covering abortion except to save the life of the mother.

"Any and all insurance plans already have to come under Kentucky state law and right now state law bars them from covering abortions," says Derek Selznick, Reproductive Freedom Project director for the ACLU of Kentucky.

The Affordable Care Act mandates the creation of health exchanges. They are intended to open up marketplaces where consumers can compare and shop for insurance plans.