Trump Administration To Withhold Medicaid Funding From California Over Abortion Insurance Requirement
The Trump administration will withhold $ 200 million in Medicaid funding from California in the first quarter of 2021 during the term of the state thatproviders include coverage for elective abortion, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Wednesday.
An additional $ 200 million in funding will be withheld for each quarter the state pursues this policy, Azar said, not acknowledging that the Trump administration ends on Jan.20. The HHS civil rights office had previously issued a notice of violation to California. over his requirement that all insurance plans cover elective abortions, and threatened to cut funding. The Trump administration maintains that California does not have the constitutional right to make such a requirement.
Azar made the announcement at a White House event celebrating the Trump administration’s work to fight abortion. The Medicaid funds involved help pay for health care coverage for low-income people, people with disabilities, and some seniors.
“We are taking coercive action against the state of California for imposing universal abortion coverage mandates on state health insurance,” Azar told a supportive audience. “We informed California that this policy clearly violates federal conscience laws, but the state refuses to fix and comply with the problem. Therefore, we plan to withhold $ 200 million in federal Medicaid funds from the state in the first quarter of 2021. And unless California changes its policies, we will seek to withhold an additional $ 200 million each quarter. until he complies. “
California Governor Gavin Newsom said the Trump administration was threatening health for “cheap political points.”
“Women’s health is public health,” Newsom said in a statement. “It is wrong that the Trump administration is threatening the health of Californians just to score cheap political points – and during a global pandemic. We will continue to defend reproductive health and push back against this extreme presidential excess.”
Azar too ad the Justice Department is suing a Vermont hospital that the Trump administration said required a Catholic nurse to help with an abortion procedure, even though she had previously stated her objections to the procedure and other nurses were available .
At Wednesday’s White House event, Pence reflected on the “great strides we have made for life.” President Trump, who was also in the White House, did not attend the event.
“I believe with all my heart that everyone in this room with our president has made a difference for life,” said Pence. “So today we really come together to reflect on the great strides we have made for life under President Donald Trump and with all of your collective support. But also to thank you all. And to urge you as we pledge to never stop fighting for the cause of life. “