Trump administration to withhold Medicaid funding from California due to abortion insurance requirement

The Trump administration will withhold $ 200 million in Medicaid funding from California in the first quarter of 2021 due to the state mandate that health insurance Providers include coverage for elective abortion, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday.

An additional $ 200 million in funding will be withheld for each quarter that the state continues with that policy, Azar said, failing to see the Trump administration ending Jan. 20. HHS ‘Office for Civil Rights had previously issued a notice of violation to California. about his requirement that all insurance plans cover elective abortions, and threatened to cut funding. The Trump administration maintains that California has no constitutional right to make such a demand.

Azar made the announcement at a White House event honoring the Trump administration’s work to combat abortion. The appropriate Medicaid funds help pay health care coverage to low-income individuals, those with disabilities, and some older adults.

“We are taking enforcement action against the state of California for imposing universal abortion coverage obligations for health insurance in the state,” Azar said to a supportive audience. “We have informed California that this policy is clearly in violation of federal laws of conscience, but the state is refusing to resolve the issue and comply with it. Accordingly, we plan to raise $ 200 million in federal Medicaid in the first quarter of 2021 funds from the state. And unless California changes its policy, we will try to withhold an additional $ 200 million each quarter until it complies. “

CBS News has contacted the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom for comment.

Azar also announced that the Justice Department is suing a hospital in Vermont that the Trump administration says needs a Catholic nurse to assist with an abortion procedure, even though she had previously objected to the procedure and other nurses were available.

At the White House Wednesday, Pence reflected on “the great strides we’ve 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, along with our president, has made a difference to 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. that we will never stop fighting for the cause of life. “