As I’ve spoken about before, in April the PA House passed House Bill 818, which banned abortion coverage from being in any health insurance plan sold through the state health insurance exchange, which is being set up as part of ObamaCare and will provide a centralized marketplace for Pennsylvanians to shop and collectively bargain for health insurance, with only the strictest exemptions for rape, incest, and when the mother’s death is imminent.
Since then, the bill has also passed the PA Senate and been signed into law by Republican Governor Tom Corbett. The bill passed the PA Senate in June, after an amendment that would have added another exemption for when continuing the pregnancy would cause a medical emergency for the mother was voted down. Governor Corbett then signed the bill into law on June 17th without commenting on it according to the Associated Press, which added that Andrew Hoover of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says this is the first time that PA’s state government has prohibited a private insurance company from covering an abortion for a private customer who is using private money to buy health insurance.
Another part of ObamaCare gives states the option to expand Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for people living in poverty. Medicaid expansion would make 600,000 to 800,000 Pennsylvanians who currently have no health insurance eligible for Medicaid according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, including over 20,000 veterans and over 10,000 of those veterans’ family members. The PA Senate recently passed a bill that included Medicaid expansion 40 to 10, with every Democratic state senator plus 17 Republicans voting for it. But after the PA House voted for the same bill without the Medicaid expansion, all 17 Republican state senators who had voted for Medicaid expansion then turned around and voted for the House version of the bill so Governor Corbett could sign it without the Medicaid expansion.
Over half a million uninsured people in our state, including tens of thousands who joined the military to put their lives on the line for our country have a basic level of humanity hanging in the balance, unfortunately depending on a small handful of conservative Republicans to decide that their values allow for the government to give it to them.