House Bill 40 would cost Illinois taxpayers $60 million to support abortions should Roe v. Wade be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) argued on the House floor.
HB40, filed by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), would allow Medicaid recipients and state employees to use government health insurance to cover an abortion.
“My problem is this: How many abortions are going to be paid for under Medicaid with your bill?” Breen asked. “Do you have an estimate of how many new abortions will be paid for?”
Feigenholtz replied that she could not provide an exact cost since there has been no precedent on which to base an estimate.
Breen countered that he knew the cost after consulting data from the Guttmacher Institute, which revealed that 75 percent of women who get abortions are below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Factoring in Illinois' Medicaid eligibility, Breen calculated that taxpayers would be forced to cover approximately 30,000 abortions a year at a cost of more than $1,000 each.
“That’s what we are actually paying," he said. "Do some simple math: 30,000 times a thousand, it’s $30 million. And we don’t get a federal match on this money. That’s $60 million of impact to our Medicaid system. The questions you’re going to have to answer, depending on how you vote on this, is where that money should come from. Should it come from cancer screenings? Legitimate medical expenses like heart medicine or insulin? Or should it come from necessary surgeries?”
Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) echoed Breen’s sentiments, asserting that the state cannot afford such an impact.
“It was just recently pointed out by the Illinois Policy Institute that last session, we passed over 900 bills," she said. "There were only a couple dozen that we understood what the fiscal impact is on the state. The state is in a terrible budget crisis, and the fact the we can’t quite [know] or are unsure what the fiscal impact is for this bill or for most of our bills is quite frankly negligent of our duties. This is just yet another indication that we are in big trouble, and we continue to go down the tube.”
Breen said the bill is meant to give Illinois State Treasury money to the abortion industry, so lawmakers need to ask themselves what they are asking taxpayers to do.
“I look at this bill; I look at the smoke screen and the various back and forth that has happened, and really, it’s very simple,” Breen said. “Do you want taxpayer funding of abortions of healthy babies or not?”
The House passed the bill on a vote of 62 to 55.