Tuesday morning, State Representative John Smithee (R-86, Amarillo), filed a bill to protect taxpayers from paying for more abortions by opting out of abortion coverage under PPACA (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare"). HB (House Bill) 997, the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform Bill, will protect Texans from further subsidizing the abortion industry if an exchange is established. HB 997 includes two other provisions: (1) the definition of medical emergency in insurance plans for state and retired state employees has been narrowed so that taxpayers do not pay for elective abortion through these plans, and (2) the bill removes abortion coverage from private insurance plans, thus switching abortion coverage from a standard benefit to a separate, supplemental plan.
The majority of Texans reject funding abortion through any tax revenue stream, including in the federal health care reform PPACA. PPACA includes a loophole allowing states to opt out of coverage “if such State enacts a law to provide for such prohibition,” [Section 1303(a)(1)]. Pro-Life legislators are taking advantage of this opening through Texas Right to Life’s HB 997.
As Chair of the Insurance Committee, Representative Smithee will aptly navigate the passage of Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life Insurance Reform Bill. Representative Smithee has served in the Texas House for nearly three decades and has always championed the Pro-Life cause. Representative Smithee and his wife even started a scholarship fund for the children of women who chose Life through the pregnancy center in Amarillo where he served on the board.
The Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform Bill protects all Texans, including abortion advocates, from paying for abortion coverage and stops more unseen revenue from lining the pockets people who commit abortions.