Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Here's What You Need to Know abut the Hyde Amendment and Efforts to End It

June 21, 2019 (Rewire News): Here's What You Need to Know abut the Hyde Amendment and Efforts to End It, by Ally Boguhn:

As the Hyde Amendment re-emerges as a political issue, Rewire News provides a helpful information about the rider that is attached to federal appropriations each year that prevents the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion care.  The article notes that similar restrictions have been applied to other forms of government health insurance including the Indian Health Services, Medicare, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and health care for people in the military, federal prisons, and the Peace Corp and federal government employees. Similar restrictions were also imposed on plans available on the Affordable Care Act's Health Exchanges.  

Since the Amendment became law in the 1970s, some states have used their own funds to provide abortion coverage for individuals on Medicaid as a result of court decisions requiring coverage under their state constitutions or legislative action.  In 2017, Illinois became the first state in decades to pass legislation authorizing the use of state Medicaid funds for abortion.  And earlier this month, New York City allocated $250,000 to fund abortions for women who are not covered by Medicaid or insurance and cannot afford the procedure.

In recent years there has been new momentum at the federal level to eliminate the Hyde Amendment.  In 2015, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act, which would ensure that individuals who received health insurance through the federal government were covered for abortion care.  In 2016, the Democratic Party included repeal of Hyde on its platform. However, House Democrats have not pushed the issue.

Despite their stated opposition to the Hyde amendment, House Democrats included it in their 2019 budget. In early June, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jane Schakowsky (D-IL), and [Pramila] Jayapal introduced an amendment to strike Hyde and instead expand access to abortion coverage. Their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

The Hyde Amendment is poised to be a critical topic in the 2020 presidential election. Many contenders for the Democratic nomination have come out against the policy, and former Vice President Joe Biden recently twice switched his position on the matter (ultimately being against it). Meanwhile, President Trump supports codifying Hyde into law.






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