ASSEMBLY, No. 3085

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JULY 1, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  GARY R. CHIUSANO

District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)

Assemblywoman  ALISON LITTELL MCHOSE

District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     “The Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act”; prohibits certain qualified health plans that provide abortion coverage from participating in health benefits Exchanges in the State.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning coverage of certain procedures under certain health benefits plans, and supplementing P.L.1992, c.161 (C.17B:27A-2 et. seq.) and P.L. 1992, c.162 (C.17B:27A-17 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     On March 23, 2010, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, a national healthcare initiative that, among other things, mandates healthcare coverage for almost all American citizens and legal residents by 2014.

     b.    As part of achieving this objective, section 1311 of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Pub. L.111-148, (42 U.S.C. s.18031) authorizes the creation of state-operated health benefits Exchanges, in which individuals and small employers can purchase qualified health plans for themselves and their employees.

     c.     This new law provides that federal tax dollars, via affordability credits or subsidies provided to individuals whose income levels are between 150 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, may be used to purchase health plans through the Exchanges that may provide coverage for abortions.

     d.    Federal funding of health plans that provide for abortion coverage is an unprecedented change in federal abortion funding policy.  In fact, each year, beginning in 1976, Congress has approved a rider to the annual Labor/Health and Human Services/Education appropriations bill, which prohibits the use of federal funds to subsidize health plans that provide abortion coverage.

     e.     This rider, also known as the “Hyde Amendment,” was first offered by Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois as a rider to the annual Labor/Health and Human Services/ Education appropriations bill, which prevents Medicaid and any other programs under these departments from funding abortions.  The rider, as originally introduced in 1976, excluded coverage for abortions under any circumstance, regardless of whether the pregnancy was the result of an act of rape or incest, or if termination of the pregnancy was necessary because the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term

     f.     Between 1977 and 1981, the Hyde Amendment underwent several changes, including a revision which provided an exception for termination of pregnancy in situations in which the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.  This exception remained in force between 1981 and 1993.

     g.     In 1993, after much debate in Congress, the Hyde Amendment was rewritten in a new format, and the exceptions were expanded beyond “the life of the mother” language to include cases of rape and incest.  Since then, the Hyde Amendment has provided that federal funding for health plans shall not be used to fund abortion coverage except in the limited cases where: 1) the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest; or 2) the mother’s physical health is at-risk if the pregnancy is carried to term.

     h.     Consistent with the terms of the Hyde Amendment, section 1303 of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Pub.L.111-148 (42 U.S.C. s.18023), allows a state to “opt-out” of permitting qualified health plans that provide coverage for abortions to participate in state-based Exchanges, thereby precluding the use of taxpayer money to subsidize the purchase of such plans.

     i.      Therefore, the purpose of this act is to affirmatively opt-out of allowing qualified health plans that provide abortion coverage from being offered or otherwise made available in Exchanges within the State of New Jersey, except as to coverage that is consistent with the exceptions allowed by the Hyde Amendment.

 

      2.   a.  An individual health benefits plan that is a qualified health plan as defined by section 1301 of the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Pub.L.111-148 (42 U.S.C. s.18021) shall not be offered or otherwise made available through the Exchange established by the State pursuant to section 1311 of that act (42 U.S.C. s.18031) to facilitate the purchase of the plans by individuals, if that plan provides coverage for abortion.

     b.    The exclusion under subsection a. of this section shall not apply to a plan that only provides coverage for an abortion performed when the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or when the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest, consistent with the federal law restricting the use of federal funds for abortion coverage and referred to as the Hyde Amendment.

 

      3.   a.  A small employer health benefits plan that is a qualified health plan as defined by section 1301 of the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Pub.L.111-148 (42 U.S.C. s.18021) shall not be offered or otherwise made available through the Exchange established by the State pursuant to section 1311 of that act (42 U.S.C. s.18031) to facilitate the purchase of the plans by small employers, if that plan provides coverage for abortion.

     b.    The exclusion under subsection a. of this section shall not apply to a plan that only provides coverage for an abortion performed when the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or when the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest, consistent with the federal law restricting the use of federal funds for abortion coverage and referred to as the Hyde Amendment.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

      This bill is designated “The Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act.”  It prohibits individual and small employer health benefits plans that provide coverage for abortion and are qualified health plans as defined in the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” from being offered or otherwise made available through the health benefits Exchanges established by the State pursuant to that federal act.  The bill provides that the exclusion of plans from the Exchanges shall not apply to health benefits plans that provide coverage for an abortion performed when the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from pregnancy itself, or when the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.

      On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” which, among many things, mandates health coverage for almost all Americans by 2014.  To help achieve this objective, the law authorizes the creation of state-based health benefits Exchanges, in which individuals and small employers will have the opportunity to purchase health benefits plans from qualified health benefits providers.  The federal government will provide tax credits to those individuals whose incomes are between 150 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level to help off-set the cost of purchasing a health benefits plan through a state-based Exchange.

      The federal law allows a state to “opt-out” of permitting qualified health plans that provide coverage for abortions to participate in state-based Exchanges, thereby providing that the use of taxpayer money to subsidize the purchase of such plans may be prohibited if a state makes that choice.  This bill exercises the right to “opt-out” of allowing plans providing abortion coverage to be offered in any Exchanges in the State.