Michigan Republicans, Obamacare, War on Women — May 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Michigan’s rape insurance law conflicts with Obamacare, prevents women from being able to purchase abortion coverage riders


When Republicans passed their odious “rape insurance” law, they did it on the basis that women should have to pay for their own abortions. It was a faux argument because there was nothing about insurance companies offering abortion coverage that forced anyone to pay for someone else’s abortion. But that, of course, didn’t stop them from making the argument.

Now we find out that Michigan women who purchase their health insurance on their own (not part of a group insurance plan) don’t have the option to purchase the extra abortion rider on their insurance. The reason? Because the bill passed by Republicans violates an Affordable Care Act provision that prohibits insurers from offering riders to standard insurance. In other words, their law makes it impossible for women not covered by a group policy to obtain the insurance rider that Republicans are forcing them to buy if they want that coverage.
insurers cannot offer a rider to a standard, inclusive policy:

When the Republican legislature, and three like-minded Democrats, pushed through a bill requiring special insurance riders for abortion coverage last December, the promise was that women could still buy insurance on the open market if they wanted to.

Many are finding that’s impossible.

Two months after the state’s new “opt-out” insurance law went into effect, individual women cannot buy the insurance at any price.

“If you were looking for coverage on your own, no coverage for elective abortions is available today,” says Caleb Buhs, the spokesman for the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

The promised riders don’t exist.

“Really?” said state Rep. Tom McMillin, a Republican backer of the law. McMillin said that wasn’t the outcome he intended. “But if there was a market there, I’m sure they’d offer it.”

Not so. In fact, the state “opt-out” rider law clashes with provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which outlaws both separate riders and any government subsidy of abortion. Under federal law, insurers cannot offer a rider to a standard, inclusive policy. And the new state law bars insurers from including elective abortion coverage in any policy, on or off the exchange.

Industry experts say the federal and state laws work against each other. The result? The promise of optional coverage is largely a mirage for those not employed by large companies.

There are two possibilities here. One is that Republicans like Tom McMillin were unaware of the conflict between their offensive law and the federal health insurance law. The other is that they knew and didn’t give a damn.

Either possibility is cause for outrage. Republicans, even Republican women like Terri Lynn Land, claim there is no “war on women”. It’s stuff like this that makes it clear how utterly wrong they are.

That’s true whether they have lady parts or not.

Graphic by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

  • Brainwrap

    All of which means the following:

    1. Michigan’s population is about 9.9 million people.
    2. There’s about 46.4 cases of rape in Michigan per year.
    3. That means about 4,600 case of rape per year.
    4. Assuming 5% of victims are male, that’s 4,400 women raped in Michigan per year.
    5. Nationally, about 32,000 women become pregnant after being raped per year.
    6. The US population is around 316.1 million people.
    7. Michigan’s population makes up around 3.13% of the national population.
    8. That means that around 1,000 Michigan women become pregnant from being raped every year.
    9. Since the Republican “Rape Insurance” law prevents health insurance from paying for abortion (even as a separate rider), that means that women now have to pay for their own abortion.
    10. The average cost of an abortion in Michigan is around $500.

    CONCLUSION: Michigan’s Republican “Rape Insurance” law means that 1,000 rape victims per year will be PENALIZED for the “crime” of being raped by either:

    a) having to pay a $500 fine and undergo a painful, emotionally revolting surgical procedure, OR

    b) having to undergo a minimum of 9 months of cruel & unusual punishment.

    Every member of the Michigan legislature who voted for this bill is disgusting and should resign immediately. None will, of course.


    • Amy Lynn Smith

      This whole issue continues to make my blood boil. Thanks for the excellent post, Chris — and for your comments here and your subsequent post, Charles. We can’t stop reminding voters how abominably Michigan Republicans are treating women. Even some pro-life women think this law goes too far.

      (As an aside: Is “Really?” the new pivot phrase du jour for the GOP?)

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