The Biden administration is offering to use Medicaid funding to pay for abortion-related travel expenses, but states aren’t taking him up on the money, according to Politico.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order in August instructing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider having Medicaid cover costs for women who want to cross state lines to have abortions. There wasn’t a single state that confirmed it was pursing the Medicaid funding to Politico; limitations on such funding under the Hyde Amendment and the relatively small number of women who would be impacted by the funding may explain the lack of interest, according to the outlet.
“We are trying to use every lever we have available to us to think about every possible solution there might be, however narrow,” an anonymous senior health official told Politico. “We’ve said, ‘Open door, you’ve got an idea, come to us,’ because we’re trying to help everyone we can in any way we can. But the reality is there is no silver bullet here.”
Yesterday, following my Executive Order, HHS released new guidance to ensure health care providers across the country know their obligation under federal law to provide life- or health-saving abortion services in emergency situations—regardless of their state’s abortion laws.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 12, 2022
Among 24 states where abortion is generally legal, 10 haven’t decided if they’ll apply for the special Medicaid funding, two are waiting for further guidance, one isn’t applying and 11 didn’t respond to questions about the initiative, according to Politico. The application process is complicated and time-consuming, and the number of women who would actually receive the funding would be small, a Connecticut Department of Social Services commissioner told Politico. (RELATED: Planned Parenthood To Offer Abortions Out Of An RV)
The Hyde Amendment prevents federal funding for abortions except to protect the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest, making it unlikely that funding could support abortion-related expenses outside these rare cases, according to Politico. Approximately 1% of abortions are sought due to being a victim of rape, and less than 0.5% are due to incest; women would presumably not need to cross state lines to have abortions in life-threatening instances since no state abortion restriction bans the procedure when the mother’s life is at stake.
“The number of women that will be impacted in that specific circumstance … would be a pretty small number,” Deidre Gifford, commissioner for Connecticut’s Department of Social Services, told Politico.
HHS and the White House did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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