House adopts bill requiring exchanges to include a plan that bans abortions

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 24, 2011

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The House on Oct. 13 voted 251-172 along party lines to adopt a bill that would require health plans in health insurance exchanges to offer at least one plan that does not cover abortions.

The bill is similar to a measure the House adopted in May. Both have exemptions for cases of rape, incest or when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger.

The Democratic-led Senate is not expected to act on the measure. The White House issued a statement on Oct. 12 threatening to veto the bill and noted the health system reform law already requires health plans in the exchanges to separate federal funding from funding that would pay for abortions. The reform law is expected to allow about 16 million people to gain coverage through private plans offered in health insurance exchanges beginning in 2014.

Congressional Democrats said the bill is redundant and would go beyond a longstanding compromise that prevents federal funding from being used to pay for abortions. "It is a step towards eliminating a choice that our Supreme Court has deemed legal and remains legal to this day," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D, N.J.), the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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