House Bill 3391 which would force all Oregon insurers to cover abortions for free regardless of income, insurance type, citizenship status or gender identity, and it is awaiting the signature of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
The on-demand abortion bill will cost Oregon taxpayers a whopping $10 million. It also prohibits insurers from shifting costs to patients in the form of higher deductibles or copayments. With this in mind, private insurance companies are faced with a dilemma: either pay up and cover the difference out of their own pockets or distribute these costs among their customers through higher premiums. If the private insurance companies wish to stay in business, the latter is most likely to occur.
Unlike other abortion laws in predominately liberal states such as New York and California, the Oregon law includes coverage for grim late-term abortions and sex-selective abortions. State Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, who is Democrat and a public health nurse, contends that “unintended pregnancies can perpetuate cycles of poverty, and we can help stop it. It is a woman’s right to choose when and if she is ready in her life to have a child.”
Because this Oregon abortion law is extremely unique, it is unclear whether the number of abortions is expected to increase. However, whenever a service becomes free, consumption tends to increase.
What’s more, the only way an insurer could file for exemption from this mandate is that the insurer must be a nonprofit whose purpose is the “inculcation of religious values,” and must primarily employ and serve people who share the insurer’s religious tenets.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans are extremely upset with the passage of the bill . “We are both a sanctuary state for illegal aliens, and we are a sanctuary state for federally illegal, taxpayer subsidized abortion. We should not be showering politically well-sonneted abortion clinics with political gift cards under the guise of ‘equity,’ that is totally discreditable,” Sen. Dennis Linthicum told ABC News.
For Sen. Kim Thatcher and Rep. Julie Parrish, both Republicans, the issue is largely a “checkbook problem.” In a phone interview with TheDC, Sen. Thatcher said that she was against this bill from the get-go since the taxpayers are on the hook for 100 percent of the cost. She added that Oregonians are already paying for abortions now.
Rep. Parrish, unlike the majority of her colleagues, is pro-choice. Parrish echoed Sen. Thatcher’s sentiments and contended that Oregon already has taxpayer-funded abortions. Parrish cited Oregon’s $1.8 billion budget deficit on top of the state of Oregon already appropriating $2 million for abortions as reasons why she is against this bill.
“Had it [Bill 3391] just been about creating parity with Affordable Care Act, I would’ve supported that bill, but that is not what this bill did. Instead, it sucked $10 million out of our fund.” Parrish cites that the cost of the program is expected to rise six years from now.
She went on to say that there are many other issues that are of higher priority in the state of Oregon than taxpayer-funded abortions, such as funding schools and services for military veterans.
“Rather than being centered around good public policy, the creation of this bill was a campaign ploy. This is about Gov. Brown getting re-elected,” Parrish told TheDC.