The following news release was issued today, March 4.
ST. PAUL — Abortion coverage was removed from the state's health care exchange bill by the Minnesota House of Representatives this afternoon. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) strongly supported the amendment, which passed on a 71-57 vote.
"The health care exchange bill in the House now reflects the will of the Minnesota House of Representatives and the will of the people of Minnesota, the majority of whom oppose abortion and abortion coverage," said MCCL Legislative Associate Andrea Rau.
H.F. 5, the bill to create a state-run health care exchange, is a result of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. Under the federal law, every state must offer a health care exchange—an online marketplace of insurance plans. States may establish their own exchange or defer to one created and run by the federal government.
Minnesota legislators have until March 31 to turn the bill into law (the Senate has its own bill, S.F. 1); otherwise the federal exchange will be imposed. The Legislature will break March 25 until April 1, so the bill must be passed before then.
The federal law allows states to exclude coverage for abortion in health insurance plans that participate in the exchange.
"Abortion is not health care and it should not be among the procedures covered in the state exchange's insurance plans," Rau added. "MCCL is pleased to see the House recognize that abortion is outside the realm of health care."
The amendment to make the state's health care exchange pro-life, A13-0121, was offered by Rep. Patti Fritz, DFL-Faribault. It was one of many amendments considered in today's House floor debate of the exchange bill.