The Trump administration says it will impose a $ 200 million fine on California Medicaid Funds requiring abortion insurance

“We are taking enforcement action against the state of California for a universal abortion coverage mandate on health insurance in the state,” Azar said. “We have informed California that this policy clearly violates federal discretion laws, but states refuse to address the issue and comply.”

California government Democrat leader Gavin Gavome accused the Trump administration of looking for cheap political points to “endanger the health of Californians – and during a global epidemic,” for repetitive health. We stand up and push back against it. This is the ultimate presidential renunciation. “

Azar said his department intends to continue $ 200 million for each additional quarter that the state does not comply with – although it is unclear whether Azar will remain in his current role for less than a month after 2021 and will be president- Election Joe Biden’s administration is unlikely to pursue a continuation of policy.

During the same incident, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Claire McCooker Murray announced that earlier on Wednesday, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division sued the University of Vermont Medical Center after the agency’s conclusion that a nurse at the center Despite the miscarriage she was forced to participate. His antics

CNN has reached out to the University of Vermont Medical Center for comment. The medical center has in the past argued that the nurse’s allegations are false and that it is willing to work with the HHS’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on the religious rights of the forthcoming staff, as well as the legal rights of patients is.

The two measures reaffirmed the administration’s continued focus on the religious and moral objections of health care providers to controversial health care procedures such as abortion under President Donald Trump. The Department created a Conscious and Religious Freedom Division in January 2018.

In 2019, the agency issued a so-called prudence rule, citing moral or religious reasons for allowing health care workers to opt out of certain medical procedures, such as abortion, sterilization, and suicide. Advocates of reproductive rights argued that the rule would harm the LGBTQ community. He feared that a religious freedom argument would be used to justify endangered patients, and a federal judge in New York barred the rule from going into effect last year.

When asked about the timing of the California action given by the outgoing administration, HHS Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino said on Wednesday in a press call that “discretion is not a right for partisan debate. It should not matter that the president Who is. No matter whether the director of the Office for Civil Rights, whether it is me or anyone else – laws passed by Congress on bipartisan basis are eligible to apply. “

The OCR has gone head-to-head for California’s Attorney General Javier Becerra – incoming Health and Human Services Secretary – over California abortion insurance coverage for some time. Becerra’s office said Wednesday afternoon that it had “not received anything official from HHS on the matter.”
The OCR found in January that California’s requirement that state-regulated health plans cover abortion “discriminates against health care plans and issuers, or otherwise, limits or excludes abortion coverage in their plan products.” The department considered that a violation of the Weldon Amendment, which grants federal money to any program or state government that “discriminates against any institutional or individual health care unit on the basis that the health care unit does not provide Is, provides coverage., Or see for abortion. “
Becerra responded with a letter in February stating that in 2016, OCR found that “the safety of the Weldon Amendment is limited to only health care entities” and that California exempted a health care unit in 2015 that it sought was. “Given the fact, as OCR has itself recognized, California has not subjected any health care entity to conduct prohibited conduct under the Weldon Amendment,” Becerra wrote at the time.

When asked by CNN about Bicerra’s rescue, Severino said the issues that California religious groups raised with the need for abortion were “whether the real victims are injured here, and it is up to the state to fix it.”

“Whatever methods they choose to address the issues raised by the complainants, we are not going to direct them to what the exact method is to ensure that those who are abortion-free coverage under the law Want and be abortion-free coverage under the law, ”he said.

Severino did not address CNN’s question about the timing of the $ 200 million reduction in Medicaid funding amid the worsening coronovirus epidemic.

Sarah Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University who worked for former President Bill Clinton, said that in view of Trump’s dwindling numbers, “politically, practically, it’s an empty threat, but legally This is a real danger. “

“When you’re starting an entire brand new agency, stacking up entire divisions, they’re running into a flood of issues,” she told the Biden administration, facing California policy, “to explore There may be appropriate (court) protection so that nothing happens. Because turning the wheels and closing the wheels and reversing course inside an agency is a complex thing to do legally and legally. “


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