States reluctant to use Medicaid to expand abortion access

In the two months since President Joe Biden signed an executive order encouraging states to use Medicaid to help cover costs for people who cross state lines for abortions, none have acted on the offer, Politico reported Oct. 4. 

Politico said it contacted 24 state Medicaid agencies where abortion is legal and its status is not in jeopdary. Ten states said they are reviewing the proposal and have not made a decision on applying. Massachusetts and Minnesota said they are awaiting additional federal guidance, North Carolina opted not to pursue the policy and 11 states did not respond to requests for comment. 

Seeking federal permission to cover additional benefits through Medicaid is a cumbersome process, some state officials told Politico. They also face potential hurdles such as the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal Medicaid funds to be allocated toward abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the pregnant person's life.

It may be easier and faster for states to use their funds to help local organizations pay for transportation and lodging for out-of-state residents seeking abortions, according to the report. 

Read the full report here.

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