FRANKFORT, Ky. - A Lexington lawmaker has drafted legislation that would prevent insurance plans made available to Kentuckians under federal health care reforms from paying for abortions.
Republican state Rep. Stan Lee said Wednesday he intends to push for the legislation when lawmakers convene in January, despite assurances from Gov. Steve Beshear's administration that abortions won't be covered.
Lee said he'd prefer to have the prohibition clearly spelled out in law, "just to make sure."
"We want to make sure that no public funding is used to pay for abortions," he said. "I would think that even the people on the other side of the abortion issue shouldn't have too much consternation about this."
The federal health care reforms that are part of the Affordable Care Act have been under sharp attack by Republicans, including Lee, since it was passed in 2010.
Responding to Republican concerns, the Kentucky Department of Insurance posted a notice on its website earlier this year saying coverage for "elective abortions" won't be offered. That notice pointed out that doing so "would be a violation of state law and has never been considered."
Despite nudges by GOP lawmakers, Kentucky's Legislature has resisted the GOP's attempts to impose additional abortion restrictions in recent years. One proposal to require doctors to allow pregnant women to see ultrasound images before performing abortions has made it through the Republican-controlled Senate but hasn't cleared the Democratic majority in the House.
Lee said he's convinced that his proposed bill could win quick passage.
"You know as well as I do that if you get it to the floor in both chambers, it's going to sail out of there faster than a greased pig," he said. "It's just a question of getting it there."
Kentucky is moving ahead with the creation of an online insurance marketplace, known as a health insurance exchange, for people and businesses to select affordable coverage plans. The insurance exchange would operate similar to popular travel sites, where people could search for lowest prices for insurance coverage.
It's expected to be operational in January.
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