In his first term in 2010, Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane) discovered that those restrictions had been undermined and filed a bill to fix it. Unfortunately, this fix– HB 2293— has not yet been adopted in 2 legislative sessions.
With only a few days left, one sole Senator on a committee of six, Ruth Teichman (R- Stafford), is refusing to add this measure to a conference committee report, apparently with the backing of Senate leadership. [Note: Conference reports reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of one or more bills at the end of the term.]
HB 2293 is not a new policy mandate– it closes an illegal loophole using state tax dollars to fund elective abortions.
As used in three other pro-life bills passed this session, HB 2293 defines elective abortion to include those obtained for reasons of rape or incest.
STATE EMPLOYEE HEALTHCARE
The state of Kansas, like other states, offers state employees a ‘perk’, allowing part of the salary of state employees to be segregated, off the top, before being taxed. As a practical matter, this pre-tax money yields up to 25% more ‘buying power’ for health expenses and family care.
This non-taxed state salary is deducted from their paychecks in pre-arranged amounts through the Flexible Spending Accounts Program, which is comprised of three separate benefits:
- dependent expenses (work-related family care),
- state health insurance, and
- the ‘Flex account,’ which reimburses various monthly health-care expenses not covered through other insurance plans.
The Flex account of a state employee is not really his/her “own” money,” as employees are warned that any unused allotments at the year’s end must revert to state coffers. The Flex account is limited, and cannot be used, for example, on certain over-the counter medicines, diapers, or even adoption fees.
A formal response from KHPA [Kansas Health Policy Authority] revealed that in calendar year 2009, state insurance paid for 4 abortion claims and denied 43 abortion claims to state employees.
HOWEVER, in that same year the state Flex account was administered by one carrier that keeps no data on how many abortion reimbursements were processed. Worse, the carrier’s criteria for abortion restrictions were absent, contrary to the legislative intent, and permitted reimbursement solely if the abortion was “legal.”
Kansas already decided that abortion is not healthcare, and certainly should not be a “perk” of tax-funded state employment.
Please thank the 5 pro-life members of the insurance conference committee who support HB 2293, and encourage them to hold strong: Sen. Allen Schmidt (D- Hays), Sen. Ty Masterson (R- Andover), Rep. Clark Shultz (R-Lindsborg), Rep. Phil Hermanson (R-Wichita), and Rep. Bob Grant (D-Cherokee).
Don’t forget kudos for Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane)!