KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Battles Over Availability and Coverage Of Abortion Move To States

States are the arena for new abortion battles -- both the fight over their availability and coverage of them by state and private insurance. In the meantime, new legislation on the procedure is winding through the Washington state and Arkansas legislatures.

Politico: Abortion Coverage: The New Battleground For States
Conservative states may have lost their bid to kill Obamacare, but they're winning the battle on another front: abortion coverage. At least 20 states have banned or restricted the coverage of abortion procedures -- including coverage in private insurance plans -- revealing a new battleground in the arduous task of carrying out the controversial national health care law (Smith, 1/31).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Arkansas Senate Passes Legislation That Would Ban Abortions As Early As 6 Weeks Into Pregnancy
The Arkansas Senate voted Thursday to prohibit most abortions if a heartbeat is detected, ignoring warnings from opponents that banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy would invite lawsuits. If enacted, the ban would be the most stringent in the nation. The Ohio House passed a similar ban in 2011, but it was sidelined in the Senate last year over concerns that it might be found unconstitutional. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters Thursday that’s the same concern that he’s researching (1/31).

The Associated Press: Abortion Insurance Bill Creates Wash. State Debate
Abortion rights supporters and opponents packed a Washington state House hearing Thursday and debated a measure that would require insurers to pay for the procedure. Supporters call the bill the Reproductive Parity Act and say it's intended to preserve existing abortion coverage once new health insurance rules come into effect under the federal health care law (Kaminsky, 1/31).

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