Yesterday, on the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved a previously-denied waiver request by the state of Texas for federal Medicaid funding to administer a family planning program that discriminates against reproductive health care providers. The approval upends a longstanding Medicaid requirement that enrollees be able to receive services from the qualified provider of their choice– including Planned Parenthood and other providers who also provide abortion services.
Said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“The Trump administration just gave the green light for states to deprive low-income people access to reproductive health care. The administration’s approval of the Texas waiver has opened a back-door pathway to “defund” Planned Parenthood and other providers. The federal government’s complicity in setting this precedent is equal parts dangerous and wrong, and like other decisions from this administration, will be acutely felt by low income individuals and people of color.
“In 2011, the Obama Administration rejected this Texas plan because the proposal violated Medicaid’s requirement that people covered by Medicaid be able to obtain family planning services from their choice of qualified provider and it was unlikely to promote the objectives of the Medicaid Act.
“In a complete reversal in prior agency policy, the Trump administration has now paved the way for state Medicaid programs to restrict enrollees’ ability to receive services from the qualified provider of their choice and discriminate against such providers. From the very beginning, the Trump administration set its sights on weakening the Medicaid program and threatening access to reproductive health care for the underserved and vulnerable populations that this program serves. By approving this illegal waiver, the Trump administration has imperiled the public safety net for reproductive health care.”
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