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House Ways and Means Jury Forbids Abortion Coverage From Health Reform

Bill intends to expand health insurance coverage by mandating that individuals obtain insurance requiring employers to offer workers coverage

The House Ways and Means Committee in US has voted to approve its health care reform bill (HR 3200) after rejecting dozens of Republican amendments. It includes attempts to exclude abortion coverage from the essential benefit package created in the legislation – reported in medical news today.

The amendment comprises exceptions for abortion to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape or incest. Committee members voted 19-22 to reject a similar amendment by House Minority Whip, Eric Cantor (R-Va.). The House health reform bill would establish a panel to set a minimum benefits package that health insurers must offer.

The bill intends to expand health insurance coverage by mandating that individuals obtain insurance, requiring employers to offer workers coverage or pay a fine, and establishing a health insurance exchange where people could compare and purchase plans. The exchange would include a government-run health insurance option that would compete with private plans.