14-December-2012 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Pennsylvania insurance choice worries state's Catholic conference

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is concerned over the state's decision to not run its own health care exchange but instead opt for a federal exchange which includes abortion coverage.

"Access to health care is fundamental and necessary for human dignity. Yet concerns raised during the health care reform debate about conscience protection and coverage of elective abortion are not resolved," the conference said in a Dec. 12 statement.

The Obama administration's Affordable Care Act requires that exchanges be set up in each state from which individuals and small businesses can buy health insurance which will be subsidized by the federal government.

The conference had hoped for a state exchange, because without it, "Pennsylvanians who qualify will be enrolled in the federal exchange, which will cover elective abortions."

"If Pennsylvania had created its own exchange, it would have been able to opt out of this abortion coverage."

Governor Tom Corbett said Dec. 12 that Pennsylvania would not set up its own exchange because "healthcare reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning."

The Republican governor and his fellow party members opposed the creation of a state exchange because of the unknown details surrounding cost and impact of the decision. Pennsylvania Democrats had supported a state-based exchange.

Corbett said the Department of Health and Human Services had failed to respond to questions of cost and flexibility until last week, and that the department's secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, "recently admitted ... that the regulations released a few weeks ago were not final and that more drafts are to be expected."

The deadline for states wishing to run their own exchanges to submit their plans is tomorrow, Dec. 14. Exchanges must be operating Jan. 1, 2014.

He said that "it would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have no been fully written."

He wrote to Sebelius Dec. 12 saying that after having asked her about the details of state exchanges, her "answers this week - less than five days from the deadline for a decision for a state-based exchange - while greatly appreciated, still require significant review."

States may re-evaluate their decision each year, and Corbett's statements suggest that he is open to a stat-based exchange should he ever be given finalized regulations governing them.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference concluded their statement by saying, "As Pennsylvanians work with the state and federal government to address issues of cost and flexibility, we must also be concerned about taxpayers supporting the flawed and damaging idea that elective abortions are basic health care."

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=6722#ixzz2F4URYk9k

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