California loses $200M in federal funding for requiring that insurers cover abortions

HHS will cut $200 million in federal Medicaid funds to California over the state's mandate that insurers must cover abortions without exclusions or limitations, the agency said Dec. 16. The funding loss will occur in the upcoming quarter.

HHS warned California that it could lose federal funding over the 2014 regulation earlier this year. The agency argues that California is violating an anti-discrimination law called the Weldon Amendment that protects insurers from being forced to pay for or provide coverage for abortions.

HHS said it will continue to reduce California's funding by $200 million per quarter until California comes "into compliance with the Weldon Amendment."

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that the federal government attempted to work with California to find a solution, but the state refused so the agency is "taking action to hold them to account."

"Under President Trump, HHS has worked like never before to enforce laws Congress has passed to protect Americans’ religious freedom and conscience rights," Mr. Azar added.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the funding cut an attempt "to score cheap political points," according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

"Women’s health is public health. It’s wrong that the Trump administration would threaten Californians’ health just to score cheap political points — and during a global pandemic. We will continue to stand up for reproductive health and push back against this extreme presidential overreach," Mr. Newsom said. 

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