Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2015
The Feminist Majority SUPPORTS this bill.
The EACH Woman Act would end restrictions on health insurance coverage of abortion, ensuring that every woman, no matter where she lives, how much she earns, or how she is insured can access coverage for abortion. If passed, this new legislation would create two important standards for reproductive health care.
First, it would ensure that anyone enrolled in a government health insurance plan, including Medicaid, would have insurance coverage for abortion. Federal funding restrictions on Medicaid coverage for abortion forces one in four low-income women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term and pushes many women and families further into poverty. These restrictions, known as the Hyde Amendment, were originally passed in 1976, just three years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, and have been reauthorized by Congress every year since.
At a minimum, Medicaid must cover abortions in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Only 17 states use their own funds to cover all or most medically necessary abortions. That means, 32 states impose Hyde restrictions on Medicaid abortion coverage in their states, and one state, South Dakota, appears to be in violation of federal Medicaid law as it only covers abortion in cases of life endangerment. These restrictions amount to a ban on abortion for many poor women and for women of color who are disproportionately poor and more likely to be enrolled in government insurance. The EACH Woman Act would lift these restrictions, allowing all Medicaid beneficiaries, regardless of where they live, to make decisions about their health and lives.
In addition to lifting Medicaid restrictions, the EACH Woman Act ensures that those enrolled in government-sponsored health insurance plans (such as federal employees) have abortion coverage, as well as those who receive health care from a government provider or program (such as Indian Health Services or the Veterans Administration).
Second, the EACH Woman Act would prohibit political interference with private health insurance coverage of abortion. Specifically, the legislation would prevent federal, state, and local governments from restricting insurance coverage of abortion in private health plans, including plans purchased on state health insurance exchanges created through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Already, 10 states restrict insurance coverage of abortion in all private insurance plans written in the state; 25 states restrict abortion coverage in private health plans offered through the insurance exchanges; and 21 states restrict abortion coverage in insurance plans for public employees.
This bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
Chief Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) & Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) plus 68 original cosponsors