Insurance plans that cover abortion are now banned from Virginia's new healthcare exchange after a tie-breaking vote cast late Wednesday night by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
After legislators passed a bill directing the set-up of a health insurance exchange mandated under federal healthcare reform, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell amended it to include anti-abortion language. Under his revision, plans that offer abortion coverage except for cases of rape, incense or when the mother's life is in danger may not be offered through the exchange.
Mr. McDonnell argued that the wording mirrors the language of the federal Hyde amendment — which details the circumstances under which federal taxpayer money can be used to fund abortion — in response to critics on both the left and the right.
The House voted 61 to 36 to accept the governor's amendments and it barely passed the Senate, with the help of Mr. Bolling's vote.
Lawmakers spent Wendesday debating Mr. McDonnell's amendments to 134 bills approved during the general assembly session that spanned January and February and Virginia's $78 billion budget. They also voted to override the governor's veto of a bill raising the medical malpractice cap and failed to overturn three other vetoes.
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