Sandhya Sandhya

Health care workers could deny abortions under this Trump administration rule
‘Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health’ has been held up in courts

“Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health” is a controversial rule that may be held up in the courts right now but could be appealed by the Trump administration any day. The rule expands who is defined as a health care worker, and could lead to more patients being denied an abortion or other procedure if the worker believes it violates their own religious or moral beliefs.

Supreme Court to hear Louisiana abortion law case
Joins other high-profile issues for the fall term, including immigration, LGBT rights and gun control.

The Supreme Court will decide this term whether Louisiana can require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a case watched closely by advocates on both sides of the abortion debate.

The politically explosive topic joins a slew of other high-profile issues for the court’s new term, including immigration, LGBT rights and gun control.

Judge weighs New Hampshire work requirements for Medicaid
The requirements were delayed for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems

A federal district court judge seemed skeptical during oral arguments Tuesday of whether the Trump administration’s approval of work requirements advances the mission of New Hampshire’s Medicaid program. The same judge ruled against two other state work requirements earlier this year.

The New Hampshire requirements, which could have resulted in thousands losing coverage in August, were delayed earlier this month for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems in educating enrollees about the requirements.

Court allows administration family planning rule
The move is a blow to Planned Parenthood and abortion rights groups

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Thursday it would allow a Trump administration rule to take effect that would prohibit certain providers like Planned Parenthood from being eligible for federal family planning funds.

The move is a blow to abortion rights groups that have been fighting the policy in court. The Health and Human Services rule would prevent any provider of abortions or abortion referrals from qualifying for federal family planning funding under the program known as Title X.

States grapple with Medicaid work requirements
The path to implementing work requirements has been tricky and controversial

State action to implement work requirements into their Medicaid programs is heating up, as some states roll out their programs while others are fighting in court to keep them alive.

New Hampshire announced Monday it would delay suspending any Medicaid coverage until September because of consumers’ noncompliance with the work requirements. Meanwhile, Indiana on July 1 began the first steps of implementing its work requirements. Court action in three other states is expected in the coming months.

Health care issues pivotal in Kentucky governor’s race
A number of health policy issues have divided Kentuckians during incumbent Matt Bevin’s tenure

Health care is emerging as a prime contrast between candidates in the Kentucky gubernatorial race this fall, where Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear are locked in a heated battle.

A number of health policy issues have divided Kentuckians during Bevin’s tenure, including his involvement in a lawsuit led by conservatives to overturn the 2010 health care law. Beshear is part of a coalition of Democratic attorneys general defending the law.

Trump’s poverty proposal prompts alarms over cuts to Medicaid, Head Start
By changing the poverty threshold calculation, thousands would no longer be eligible for Medicaid and food stamps

Experts are voicing alarm about a Trump administration plan to change how the federal poverty level is determined and potentially cut eligibility for programs like Medicaid, Medicare subsidies, food stamps, Head Start education for young children and low-income energy assistance.

The comment period for the Office of Management and Budget proposal closes Friday. Then the agency could roll out a memo that would use an alternative way to calculate the poverty threshold.

Abortion threatens congressional impasse on funding
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 157

House Democrats' effort to rescind Trump administration anti-abortion policies threatens to hold up government spending bills. CQ Roll Call reporter Sandhya Raman details the debate and surveys how lawmakers are using abortion politics, both in Washington and the states, to rile their voters ahead of next year's election. 

 

Abortion politics: Warning of ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ versus a $41 million budget
House hearing examines restrictive state laws as anti-abortion group promises major 2020 push

Laws passed by Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, which conservatives hope will spur the Supreme Court to reverse the nationwide guarantee of a right to abortion, were the focus of heated partisan debate at a House hearing Tuesday.

Democrats on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said the laws place an undue burden on women seeking abortion, while Republicans said they are about protecting life.

Abortion-rights groups sue HHS over conscience rule
It’s the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that may affect abortion and contraception access

Several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced Tuesday that they filed the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that could affect access to abortion and contraception.

The challenge comes a week after state attorneys general filed different lawsuits also attempting to block the final rule from going into effect this year.

Missouri’s last abortion provider could close as early as Friday
Planned Parenthood alleges that the state is refusing to renew its licensing agreement

Missouri could become the first state in the country without a single abortion provider as soon as Friday, according to Planned Parenthood.

The group alleges that the state is refusing to renew its licensing agreement, days after the governor signed into law one of the toughest abortion bans in the country.

Justices decline to uphold Indiana abortion ban on basis of disability, race and gender
The provision came from a 2016 law signed into law by then-Gov. Mike Pence

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned an appeals court ruling striking down an Indiana law that set requirements for the disposal of fetal remains.

But the court refused to hear a case challenging a separate part of the law banning abortion on the basis of genetic characteristics such as disability, race and gender. That leaves the lower court’s ruling striking down that language in place for now. 

Pressure mounts on expiring Medicaid programs for U.S. territories, safety net hospitals
Advocates worry the two programs will need more funding by the end of the fiscal year

Advocates are worried about two Medicaid programs that need additional funding before the end of the fiscal year — U.S. territories’ programs and funding for safety net hospitals.

The end of September marks a number of government deadlines, but advocates and government officials worry that a lack of funding for these two Medicaid programs would be worrisome and could be overlooked.

Abortion-rights groups lay out 2020 races they plan to target
The moves come on the heels of recently passed state restrictions on abortion in six states that will all face court challenges

Abortion-rights groups outlined the political races they plan to target Wednesday, a day after the groups organized 500 events across the country. Anti-abortion groups countered with plans to sharpen the Republican platform with stricter anti-abortion language, a day after some groups met at the White House.

The moves come on the heels of recently passed state restrictions on abortion in six states that will all face court challenges.

LGBTQ Equality Act passes House, pushing back on Trump’s religious freedom policies
Democrats and advocacy groups are attempting to counteract these policies through the courts and legislation

Growing tensions over the Trump administration’s policies that aim to strengthen religious freedom protections for health care workers have led to a partisan tug-of-war playing out in the House.

The Trump administration has tried to strengthen religious liberty protections through numerous policies over the past several months. Those include providing federal funds to religiously affiliated foster agencies who don’t allow LGBT people to adopt children and broadening religious and moral exemptions for employers who do not want to cover birth control.

Legal battle heats up as more states test strict abortion bans
Other states are already pursuing and defending laws to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy

Advocates are preparing for a legal battle after Alabama passed the strictest abortion bill in the country late Tuesday, part of a growing national push by abortion opponents to test whether the courts will curb constitutional protections for the procedure.

Alabama’s move, which would essentially ban abortion in most cases, could open the door to restrictions in other states — even though they will all likely be challenged in court. Other states are already pursuing and defending laws to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Trump aide sees room for talks on Democrats’ opioid bill
Trump’s top drug control official left the door open to a bipartisan deal on a bill authorizing billions to address opioid crisis

Democrats got a surprising compliment from the Trump administration’s top drug control official at a Thursday hearing as they discussed boosting opioid addiction treatment funding, while Republicans promoted efforts to stem illegal drugs through securing the southern border.

House Oversight and Reform Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., who presided at the full committee hearing, touted a draft bill that Chairman Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland released with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday that would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to address the crisis. The bill, which is supported by all of the committee’s Democrats, faces a tough path to becoming law without Republican support.

Lawmakers aim to double down with more opioids legislation
New efforts would double down on existing policies to curb illegal fentanyl use and authorize more funding

Lawmakers are showing renewed interest in continuing bipartisan work to combat the opioid epidemic, less than a year after the president signed a legislative package into law.

While the law focuses on various aspects of the crisis such as curbing prescription drug abuse, new efforts would double down on policies to curb illegal fentanyl use and authorize additional funding.

Elizabeth Warren releases opioid plan ahead of Appalachian campaign stops
Legislation would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to tackle multiple aspects of the epidemic

Sen. Elizabeth Warren rolled out Wednesday a revised version of her bill to aggressively ramp up funding to combat the opioid crisis in anticipation of a series of town halls the Democratic presidential contender plans to hold starting this week.

Life expectancy for Americans has dropped for three consecutive years, and drug overdoses are one of the top factors. Warren has been active on the addiction issue — especially speaking out against opioid manufacturers over their role in the crisis and pursuing funding increases to combat the health epidemic.

Trump administration swayed by conservative think tank on abortion, LGBT decisions, group says
Ties between administration and The Heritage Foundation correlate with several health policy decisions, liberal watchdog group says

Close ties between the administration and a prominent conservative think tank correlate with several Trump administration health policy decisions, according to new information from a liberal government watchdog group shared exclusively with CQ Roll Call.

The 35-page Equity Forward report says that The Heritage Foundation’s influence plays a large role in decisions related to abortion, fetal tissue research, contraception and protections for same-sex couples.