The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) colluded with the national hate group Alliance Defending Freedom to rescind Obama-era Medicaid funding protections for Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers, according to a letter written by Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In the letter to HHS, Representative Cummings asks that the department provide documents related to the January 19 decision to allow state Medicaid directors to terminate qualified women’s healthcare providers from state Medicaid programs without cause. He is also asking that all communications between the HHS and Alliance Defending Freedom are shared by February 26.
His request came after a whistleblower turned over documents to the Democratic Minority on the committee. While it is common for departments to receive input from outside organizations on proposed rule changes, it is uncommon to meet with designated hate groups. In his letter to the HHS, Cummings stated that the information provided from the unnamed whistleblower reflects an apparent “clandestine effort to tip the scales of justice in favor of states that are targeting Planned Parenthood in violation of federal law.”
In Response to Rep. Cummings letter, six prominent health care providers, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, released a statement calling the allegations shocking and outrageous, saying “If there was ever any doubt, it’s now clear that the Trump-Pence administration’s actions to try to block women from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers are not only politically motivated, but being driven by extreme organizations, including designated hate groups.” They then called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revoke the Trump administration’s new policy and end “all politically motivated attacks on health care.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to their work supporting the criminalization of homosexuality and state-sanctioned sterilization of transgender people. They are active in the movement to outlaw abortion, as well as the movement to bar transgender students from using the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity.
Under federal law, Medicaid patients are supposed to be guaranteed the ability to receive medical services from any qualified person or institution that provides such care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as the courts, have consistently upheld this right and forbidden states from defunding a provider simply because they offer a legal medical service, such as abortion.
Before Tom Price resigned in disgrace from HHS, he released a new strategic plan that makes the claim that life begins at conception and that “A core component of the HHS mission is our dedication to serve all Americans from conception to natural death.” The plan goes on to read that the HHS intends to create partnerships with state and local governments as well as “non-governmental entities, including faith based and other community organizations.”