Even as health benefit exchanges bring the promise of more medical coverage for Virginians, access to abortion could become further restricted.
Abortion services could be more limited under an amendment being developed by Gov.
Now, it's being considered as an add-on for two bills - SB921 and HB1900 - submitted to prepare
It's permissible under the Affordable Care Act, which stipulates abortion coverage can't be mandated as part of a compromise negotiated when the bill was in
An aide to McDonnell characterized the amendment in the works as "a necessary, technical modification to existing state policy."
"Two years ago, the
"Now that the Commonwealth will be participating in the federal plan, rather than a state-based exchange, the language simply has to be updated to reflect that change," added Martin, calling it "a continuation of existing state policy."
Not everyone sees it that way. Sen.
Watkins said his bill "deals with plans inside and outside of an exchange," noting that an amendment drawn too broadly could restrict abortions in private insurance plans, something that would go "way too far" in his view.
McDonnell's 2011 amendment prohibited abortion coverage in any "qualified health insurance plan that is sold or offered for sale through an exchange established or operating in the Commonwealth." It made exceptions for abortions when the life of a mother is endangered by a pregnancy, or pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.
"It could be a problem," said Kilgore, R-
"No one has officially talked to me about it," said Rust, R-
Democrats asked about the possible amendment Monday weren't pleased to hear it's on the table.
Health benefits exchanges are online marketplaces through which moderate-income individuals and small businesses can purchase health insurance, some with government subsidies.
Figures from the
States are required to have exchanges as condition of the health care act - McDonnell has said