S.C. Gov. Issues Order Targeting Health Services of Low-Income Women

S.C. Gov. Issues Order Targeting Health Services of Low-Income Women

Gov. McMaster’s Action Asks State Medicaid Agency to Seek Federal Waiver to Exclude From Medicaid Any Providers Who Offer Abortion Services

Washington – Citing his staunch anti-abortion stances, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a sweeping order to bar all public funding to physicians and health centers that provide abortion care and directed the state Medicaid agency to seek a Medicaid waiver to prohibit enrollees from receiving care from these health providers.

National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Reproductive Health Director Susan Berke Fogel said the S.C. governor’s action follows a callous and destructive trend of other states seeking to make it all but impossible for women living on low-incomes to access reproductive health care.

“There are few health care providers in the state that offer comprehensive reproductive health care services, so cutting off public support of those services is a callous move that will harm women, particularly those women surviving on low-incomes,” Fogel said. “Governor McMaster further reveals his hostility to women’s health by urging the state Medicaid agency to seek a Medicaid waiver from the federal government to ban Medicaid enrollees from obtaining care at the qualified health care centers of their choosing, including Planned Parenthood health centers. Those centers provide a variety of vital preventive care services to the most vulnerable of populations. Gov. McMaster is guided by extreme ideology and is advocating for regressive and harmful health care policy.”

NHeLP Senior Attorney Catherine McKee said the state would be on wobbly legal ground with a request to seek an exemption from federal Medicaid law to limit beneficiaries’ access to health care providers of their choosing.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has limited authority to waive certain provisions of Medicaid law,” McKee said. “A waiver that would undermine the ability of Medicaid enrollees to access comprehensive health care services, including reproductive care, would be legally suspect.”

Please contact the NHeLP Communications department at leaming@healthlaw.org or 202-552-5176 for further comment from Fogel or McKee regarding the S.C. governor’s order regarding reproductive health care.

NHeLP, founded in 1969, advocates for the rights of low-income and underserved people to access quality health care.

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