On Friday, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed Senate Bill 1115, which prohibits insurance plans from covering most abortions in the Idaho health insurance Exchange (scheduled to go into effect by 2014 pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)). The bill provides an exception for coverage of abortions when the life of the mother is endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
In 2010, five states – Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee – enacted “opt-out” laws to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize abortion coverage within their state Exchanges.
Idaho legislators relied on the AUL model bill, the “Federal Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act” when drafting S.B. 1115. AUL Idaho State Director Christ Troupis and David Ripley with Idaho Chooses Life were instrumental in the bill’s passage. Ripley stated that: “AUL played a critical role in moving Idaho toward opting-out of abortion funding under ObamaCare.” Further, this type of legislation is likely to be enacted in other states before the 2011 legislative season ends.
Idaho is already a leader in this area of abortion-related public policy. Citizens of Idaho recognize that elective abortion is not health care and should therefore not be covered by insurance plans. Idaho currently has a law which prohibits private insurance plans offered within the state from covering abortions except when a mother’s life is endangered. This type of law, which is being considered in several states this year as well, protects individuals from unwillingly or inadvertently paying for abortions with their insurance premiums. By enacting S.B. 1115, Idaho is ensuring that the PPACA does not encroach on their existing state public policy against insurance coverage of abortion.
Governor Otter and our allies in Idaho are to be congratulated on their bold leadership in support of life.