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Outgoing administration threatening to take $200 million in Medicaid funds from California for requiring health plans to cover safe, legal abortion

 

SACRAMENTO – Today, U.S. HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the outgoing Trump Administration will withhold $200 million every quarter in desperately needed health care funds from the state of California because of its requirement that health insurance plans cover safe, legal abortion. This announcement comes as COVID-19 cases continue to accelerate in this country — with more than 20,000 lives already lost in California — and with less than 40 days before the transition to the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration.

 

“Despite being on the brink of a new administration, the Trump Administration is once again targeting California for proudly protecting and advancing abortion access—the same tired tactic we’ve seen over the past four years. This time, announcing a tyrannical move to deny California $200 million every quarter in essential federal health care funds for Medi-Cal patients, even as the State continues to grapple with a surging COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession,” said Jodi Hicks, CEO/President of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “The Trump Administration’s latest political stunt to punish California for ensuring coverage for abortion services, in the middle of a global health crisis, is nothing short of cruel and oppressive.”

 

Abortion is critical, time-sensitive health care and should be treated as such—including within health care coverage. As a reproductive freedom state, California guarantees the right to abortion access and insurance coverage. Abortion coverage, as part of basic health care services, is mandated to be covered under the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 and affirmed by the courts.

 

Attacks upon sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, target those who are more likely to be low income and those from Black and Brown communities, for whom basic health care has always remained out of reach because of historic and continued underinvestment in access to affordable care. This heinous attack, and possible loss of hundreds of millions of federal dollars, will most greatly impact the very people who are already struggling to make ends meet under this pandemic and economic crisis.

 

“Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California will work with our partners at every level to stop this unlawful withholding of critical funds, along with fighting to ensure abortion access and coverage doesn’t depend on where you live or what kind of insurance you have,” concluded Hicks.

 

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Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) is the state public policy office representing California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates. Through advocacy and electoral action, PPAC promotes sound public policy in areas of sexual and reproductive health care and sex education.

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