Rep. Cisneros Defends California Women’s Reproductive Healthcare

March 6, 2020
Press Release
California Congressional Delegation urges HHS not to penalize California for providing reproductive healthcare

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) joined the California congressional delegation in a letter calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to reverse a decision that would rescind federal funding from California based on its requirement that health insurers provide coverage for women’s comprehensive reproductive healthcare.

“We are disappointed that, once again, the administration is choosing to restrict women’s access to comprehensive reproductive care instead of allowing states to achieve the best possible health outcomes for women and families,” wrote the Members of Congress. “California’s abortion coverage requirement is a commonsense way of ensuring women are empowered to make their own health care decisions. Notably, when California clarified that current law required all fully insured health plans to cover abortion services, every insurer in the state promptly complied.”

The letter is led by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Reps. Judy Chu and Barbara Lee; and co-signed by Reps. Nanette Barragan, Karen Bass, Ami Bera, Julia Brownley, Tony Cardenas, Judy Chu, Jim Costa, Susan Davis, Mark DeSaulnier, John Garamendi, Jimmy Gomez, Jared Huffman, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Mike Levin, Ted Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerny, Grace Napolitano, Jimmy Panetta, Katie Porter, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Adam Schiff, Jackie Speier, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Mike Thompson, and Norma Torres.

Full text of the letter is available here and below.

March 4th, 2020

The Honorable Alex M. Azar II
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20010

Dear Secretary Azar:

We write to strongly object to the recent announcement that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) plans to rescind federal funding from California based on its requirement that health insurers provide coverage for abortion care. 

We are disappointed that, once again, the administration is choosing to restrict women’s access to comprehensive reproductive care instead of allowing states to achieve the best possible health outcomes for women and families. 

Indeed, penalizing California for its efforts to ensure women’s access to comprehensive reproductive care runs counter to HHS’ efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.  Several studies have shown that abortion restrictions are more likely to lead to health and safety risks for women, especially women of color.  Research has also shown that women denied an abortion are more likely to experience economic insecurity lasting years, leaving them at much greater risk for adverse health outcomes. 

California’s abortion coverage requirement is a commonsense way of ensuring women are empowered to make their own health care decisions.  Notably, when

California clarified that current law required all fully insured health plans to cover abortion services, every insurer in the state promptly complied.  This is not unordinary.  Absent political interference, the majority of private insurance plans cover abortion services.

Your administration’s policy of penalizing states undermines women’s ability to access health care and control their own bodies.  We ask that you immediately reverse course and not penalize California for providing comprehensive health care coverage to women, including abortion services.

 

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