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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Gov. Abbott Pushes Trump to Restore Medicaid Funds Lost for Banning Women's Health Clinics

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 4:55 PM

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Governor Greg Abbott is getting impatient.

Five days after President Donald Trump spoke at a D.C. anti-abortion rally, Abbott sent the White House a letter, essentially asking the president to 'walk the walk.'

"I write to applaud your recent actions protecting unborn children," Abbott begins. "To further these efforts, I also request your commitment to reverse particular punitive actions the Obama administration took against Texas for pursuing a culture that prioritizes not only the life of the unborn, but of the women carrying them."

Abbott's talking about the $35 million in yearly federal funds Texas surrendered when it chose to exclude providers that "perform or promote" abortions from state Medicaid coverage in 2013. Federal law requires states to give Medicaid patients the "freedom of choice" when selecting a willing health care provider — and Texas has effectively taken that choice away. That's why, under the Obama Administration, Texas created it's own state-funded health care program for low-income women. It's served 30,000 fewer women than the federal Medicaid program did, and resulted in a 35 percent increase in unintended pregnancies.

With Obama gone, Abbott's hoping to charm Trump into handing over the funds Texas still doesn't qualify for (according to federal law).

Abbott initially asked the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a waiver to restore this funding in May. He has yet to hear back.

"As of today ... Texas is still awaiting approval of its waiver by CMS," Abbott writes. "Importantly, the approval of Texas’ waiver is not only consistent with the policies you announced last week, but also will set a powerful example of the impact of your decision to rescind previous guidance from the Obama administration."

Perhaps stroking Trump's ego will convince the White House to ignore federal health care funding laws? Smart move, Abbott.

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