Missouri Senate panel backs abortion restrictions - KMOV.com

Missouri Senate panel backs abortion restrictions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A Missouri Senate panel responded quickly Monday to the passage of a federal health care overhaul by voting to expand a state ban on abortion coverage for basic health insurance policies.

Federal legislation passed Sunday night would let people buy health insurance through new state-based purchasing pools called exchanges. The federal bill says states can choose to exclude abortion coverage in plans offered through the new insurance exchanges.

Missouri is moving quickly to do so.

The state Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee voted 5-1 Monday for legislation would ban any health insurance exchange from offering policies covering elective abortions -- even if women are willing to pay an extra premium for the coverage. The legislation now goes to the Missouri Senate.

If also passed by the House and signed by the governor, the Missouri legislation would impose an even stricter standard on government-administered insurance exchanges than already exists in the private marketplace.

Missouri is one of five states that currently prohibit abortion coverage in basic policies, instead requiring the payment of an additional premium. The other states are Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

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