California House moves to end health plan abortion fees

California already requires insurers to cover abortion, but health plan members often still have to pay copayments and deductibles, which can total hundreds of dollars. This would eliminate those fees. In other state abortion news, the president of the Tennessee Senate said he would not support legislation inspired by a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks and allows private citizens to apply the measure. He says it would complicate a court case about Tennessee’s efforts to restrict abortion.

AP: California lawmakers vote to make abortions cheaper

California lawmakers voted on Thursday to make abortions significantly cheaper for people with private health insurance, moving California one step closer to becoming the fourth state in the nation to ban insurance fees for the procedure. Thursday’s vote is part of lawmakers’ strategy to make reproductive care more accessible ahead of a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that barred states from banning abortion. … The Assembly approved a bill that would eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for abortions under private health plans. While the bill would reduce the cost of abortions, it would also slightly increase monthly premiums for patients and their employers. (Beam, 3/17)

San Francisco Chronicle: New California Bill Would Create Fund to Help Women Traveling to California for Abortion Care

As other states move to limit or ban abortion, a Bay Area lawmaker on Thursday proposed creating a state fund to help women traveling to California get abortions. The legislation, SB1142, “sends a clear message to the rest of the nation,” said State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. “We are fully committed to ensuring that California women and those who may seek refuge here have access to all reproductive services, including abortion.” (Egelko, 03/17)

In other abortion news from Washington State, Tennessee and Texas –

AP: Washington state bans Texas-style abortion lawsuits

A Washington state measure that prohibits lawsuits against people seeking abortions and those who help them was signed into law by the governor on Thursday, in a bid to refute recent actions by conservative states. “We know this bill is necessary because it is a perilous time for people’s ability to have the freedom of choice they have enjoyed for decades,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat. (La Corte, 3/17)

AP: Tennessee Senate leader won’t support Texas-style abortion bill

Tennessee Senate President Randy McNally said Thursday he does not support legislation that would ban abortions and allow almost anyone to sue violators in civil suits and collect damages. Earlier this week, Tennessee became the latest GOP-led state to introduce legislation mimicking a law currently enacted into Texas law and its new citizen enforcement provision. (Kruesi, 3/17)

Axios: Citigroup’s New Policy Shows Ignoring Abortion Access Is Getting Harder For Companies

Companies that have never had to deal with abortion rights are now choosing a side. After Texas effectively banned the procedure [after six weeks of pregnancy] last year, and with the Supreme Court potentially set to roll back abortion rights, new restrictions could soon put more pressure on big business to act. Driving the news: It’s a rare occurrence when a change in a company’s insurance benefits makes the news – but that’s what happened this week when Citigroup mentioned in a regulatory filing that it would cover the travel costs of US employees seeking abortions. (Peck, 3/18)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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