Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Congress Seeks to Overturn Obama HHS Rule that Prohibits Discrimination Against Title X Providers

Rewire (Feb. 16, 2017): GOP Begins Shredding Family Planning Safeguards, by Christine Grimaldi

Using the Congressional Review Act, Republican law makers are working to undo regulations adopted during the Obama administration.  Last week the House of Representatives voted to overturn a rule adopted by the Obama Administration that prohibits discrimination against providers of Title X services.  If the Senate agrees, their "joint resolution of disapproval" will overturn the rule if President Trump signs it.

Title X is a federal program that provides funding for family planning for low-income or uninsured individuals at reduced or no cost.  The rule at issue was adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services in December 2016.  The rule sought to clarify that existing law prohibits states from barring reproductive health care providers from receiving Title X funds if they also provide abortion care.  The rule was designed to address the recent trend of state laws penalizing reproductive health providers that also provide abortion care by making them ineligible for government funding.  In particular the laws target Planned Parenthood which provides services for about a third of the recipients of Title X services.

Republicans assert that overturning the rule will not decrease Title X funding but will allow states to redirect funds to other service providers.  However, according to a Rewire analysis, other health care providers are not prepared to fill the gap if Planned Parenthood loses funding.

Assuming that President Trump will sign the measure, overturning the Obama Administration rule will require a simple majority of the Senate - 51 senators.  If there is a tie, Vice-President Pence will cast the deciding vote.  


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