May 31, 2013 — The Wisconsin Assembly Health Committee on Wednesday heard from critics and supporters of a bill (AB 216) that would restrict health insurance coverage of abortion and contraception, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The bill -- sponsored by state Rep. Andre Jacque (R) -- would prohibit taxpayer funding from being used to pay for abortion coverage in public employees' health insurance plans. The bill also would exempt some religious organizations and employers from a state law that requires employers to include contraceptive coverage in health plans, unless they are self insured.
During the hearing, Nicole Safar, public policy director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, noted that more than 90% of women use contraceptives. The cost of contraception could be burdensome to low-income women, she said.
Supporters of the bill argued that self insurance is not a viable alternative for many businesses because the cost is too great, it would result in reduced coverage and lead to higher premiums for employees (Wang, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/29).