June 17, 2014 — A new Michigan bill aims to repeal a state law that bars health plans from including abortion coverage, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The law, enacted last year, requires women who want abortion coverage to purchase a separate rider (Gray, Detroit Free Press, 6/16). However, women who are already pregnant are prohibited from purchasing the riders, including if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. The law does not apply when a woman's life is in danger or to Medicaid, which must cover abortion in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/11).
Only seven of Michigan's 42 health insurers offer the abortion coverage riders, according to state Rep. Sarah Roberts (D), who introduced the repeal bill with state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D).
"To say that women simply need to buy the rider in case they're raped or there's a medical situation is simply wrong," Roberts said.
According to the Free Press, the bill has been referred to the House Insurance Committee but is not likely to receive a hearing in the Republican-led Legislature.
Roberts acknowledged the bill's prospects are not good but said the proposal will help draw public attention to the law. "It's very clear we don't have the votes to put this up and repeal it," she said.
Ob-gyn Tim Johnson, a University of Michigan professor who joined Roberts and Whitmer at a press conference, said the law "is creating a lot of uncertainty in the doctor-patient relationship," adding, "The last thing we want is to have to worry about who has to pay for a necessary procedure" (Detroit Free Press, 6/16).