Enacted in 2010, the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (later amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act) sought to reform health care in the United States. There were numerous provisions passed with the act, one being the requirement of all health care plans to offer contraceptive coverage for women. Prior to the passage of the Act this had not been required, and employers who opposed contraception for religious reasons did not have to offer a health care plan to employees that provided this. With the passage of the Act this is no longer the case, and only in very few circumstances can exemptions be made to the law. The Act also required each state to create a state-based exchange and created a tax credit for those who use the exchange to purchase insurance. In Michigan policy makers have since examined the impact this Act will have on the state and the development of the State's exchange, with much attention focused on the issue of elective abortion. Two bills have been proposed in the Michigan Senate (SB 612 and 613,) both seek to prohibit the coverage of elective abortions. Instead, these bills would create an optional rider program that women could choose to ‘buy into' for coverage of elective abortions. Senate Bill 614 furthers these bills by forbidding reimbursements from being accepted for an elective abortion, unless they it was so from an optional rider program. This bill also would establish a fine of up to $10,000 for those in violation of the bill, and gives power to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs to investigate suspected violations.. Those in support of SB 614 have proposed various arguments for the necessity of the bill. Proponents claim that people who oppose abortion on religious or moral grounds should not pay for others to receive them with their tax dollars. Some believe the choice of abortion to be a social one, not health. Basic health care, in their opinion, should therefore not cover it. Supporters argue that these bills will not limit a woman's access to abortion, but those who oppose feel differently. They view these bills as intrusion by the government into a woman's life. Also, they argue these bills would limit abortions. Women, in their opinion, will not buy the optional rider programs.
Their belief is that most women do not plan on getting an abortion, as they feel they are usually the result of unforeseen situations. Women may choose to forego abortions completely due to costs, and doing so could have serious health consequences. Jean Doss, a consultant for Planned Parenthood, discussed in an article published on MLive.com the potential effects these bills could have. "The outcome will be that women are going to shoulder the burden, they're going to delay services and delay the health care that can lead to serious problems down the line..." Opponents also feel that these bills unfairly discriminate against women by limiting their access to a complete health care plan. According to the fiscal analysis Senate Bill 614 would have costs, but also bring in revenue. The potential investigations conducted by LARA would bring added costs to the Department. For anyone found to be in violation of the bill they would be fined up to $10,000. This would bring in an increase of revenue to the State.
With the passing of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many states were left to decide how develop their health exchange. Some feel their tax dollars should not go toward elective abortions because it is an infringement of their beliefs. Opponents claim the optional rider programs that have been suggested would limit women's access to abortions. Not having as wide of access to abortions could potentially place a woman's life in jeopardy. Senate Bill 614 would allow LARA to investigate and fine those in violation of the bill, a move that would add to additional costs of the Department but bring in more revenue. Only time will tell how Michigan and its citizens will decide this issue.
Legislative Analysis, Senate Fiscal Agency. 24 Jan. 2012.
Murray, Dave. "MLive." Mlive.com. The Grand Rapids Press, 7 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. .
Senate Bill 614. legislature.mi.gov 22 Feb. 2012
Strode, Tom. "Baptist Press - Obama Admin. Reaffirms: Health Care Plans Must Cover Abortion-causing Drugs - News with a Christian Perspective." Baptist Press. 20 Jan. 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2012. .