The Biden administration is set to reject Texas’ application to extend Medicaid from two months to six months for new mothers — because it does not include additional coverage for women who have abortions.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said there has been no final decision and Texas’ plan to expand Medicaid for the post-natal period has not been officially denied, but state officials said the federal government has “verbally indicated” that it will not approve the request.
In 2021, the Texas House approved 12 months of postpartum coverage as recommended by the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee, but the Senate dropped it to six months, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law. The task force had found that a significant number of women died in the months following childbirth from potentially preventable conditions because they did not have insurance and did not seek care. Because of the Senate’s change, however, the state had to go through a more complicated application process with the federal government.
The coverage in Texas would be extended to women for six months after giving birth and includes women who deliver a baby or suffer an “involuntary miscarriage.” Because this wording excludes extending coverage for women who have had an elective abortion, the Biden administration is likely not going to approve the coverage. Preborn lives are protected from abortion by law in Texas except in medical emergencies. However, preterm delivery, an emergency C-section, or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy are not abortions by legal definition.
For the federal government to deny the Medicaid extension for new mothers because the law excludes women who seek abortions — which are illegal in most cases in Texas — shows the true priority of the Biden administration and pro-abortion organizations and legislators is protecting and expanding access to abortion.
Those against the expansion include Diana Forester, director of health policy at Texans Care for Children, who argued that while they “want postpartum coverage for women” they want women who have elective abortions to be given the extended postnatal Medicaid coverage as well. “It’s making health insurance dependent on the outcome of the pregnancy. Somebody has to police that outcome,” she said.
Elective abortion is not a natural “pregnancy outcome” but the intentional killing of a living human being; however, women have suffered depression, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts following abortions and sometimes seek help for those abortion trauma symptoms.
If the Biden administration does reject Texas’ proposed expansion of Medicaid, it would not immediately affect women because no one is currently being removed from Medicaid due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About half of the babies in Texas are born to mothers who are on Medicaid, which means half of pregnant women in Texas who do not choose abortion death for their children would benefit from this Medicaid expansion — and countless lives could be saved.
“Now more than ever before, it is critical that all Texas moms have access to the comprehensive healthcare services they need to not only remain healthy, but to take care of their families as well,” said the policy’s author, Democratic Rep. Toni Rose.
Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan said they will try again in the next session, which begins in January, to pass the full year of postpartum Medicaid coverage. He called the Biden administration’s denial “disappointing” and “hypocritical.” He added, “It’s unconscionable and a major setback to the work of the Texas House.”
At least 32 states have or are planning to expand Medicaid coverage to a full year for new mothers.
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