House votes strict ban on abortion subsidies

By ERICA WERNER (AP) – 11 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The House has voted to prohibit coverage of abortions in a new government-run health care plan that Democrats want to compete with private insurers.

The 240-194 vote was a blow to liberals who would let the Obama administration decide whether to cover abortions in a government-provided insurance plan. Sixty-four Democrats joined 176 Republicans in favor of the prohibition.

The vote was on an amendment to a Democratic-written bill to provide health care insurance coverage to 36 million Americans who don’t have it now. The amendment also prevents private insurers from covering abortions for anyone getting federal subsidies to help pay their premiums.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan coalition sought to impose stricter abortion limits on insurance sold under a new health care bill Saturday, hoping to leave their imprint on legislation otherwise crafted largely by more liberal lawmakers.

Here is how coverage of abortion would work under their proposal, which applies to policies sold in a federally regulated insurance exchange that would be set up in 2013. The bill envisions both private companies and the government offering policies in the exchange.

The amendment, written by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., would bar the new government insurance plan from covering abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is in danger. The Democrats’ original legislation would have allowed the government plan to cover abortions.

The amendment also would prohibit people who receive new federal health subsidies from buying insurance plans that include abortion coverage.