NEW LAWS: Gov. Can Veto Medicaid Funded Abortions

Thousands of low income Iowans will soon have a new insurance plan and as part of that, Governor Branstad has new powers to decide who pays for certain abortions.

The governor signed the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan into law Thursday.

It will provide health care to 150,000 low income Iowans beginning next year.

The bill includes language that gives the governor the final say on whether or not Medicaid funds can be used to pay for abortions.

Federal law currently allows Medicaid money to cover abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is at risk.

Under the bill signed Thursday, Governor Branstad must now review and sign off on reimbursement for abortions.

The state paid around $13,500 towards 22 abortions in fiscal year 2012 according to the Iowa Department of Human Services.

The governor says he agreed to the plan because it’s what the House and the Senate wanted.

“There are some item vetoes in this bill but with regard to the language on Medicaid abortions, which was a compromise worked out between us and the senate, I have not changed that,” the governor said.

Federal authorities have to approve the plan before it starts.

Governor Branstad respected the House and Senate’s wishes by agreeing to the abortion approval language.

But there were plenty other items the legislature approved that he didn’t agree with.

The governor signed nine bills in total but first slashed millions in spending from them. The biggest cut came to the peace officer’s retirement fund.

Branstad vetoed a 91-million dollar appropriation to the fund. He also cut an 18-million dollar appropriation to the judicial retirement fund.

Branstad says taxpayers shouldn’t have to cover pension losses.

The governor also put the brakes on a project to tear down and rebuild the Wallace office building. He vetoed funding to move employees out of the building during construction.

The governor says his priority is renovating the State Historical Building not office buildings.

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