Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher and Congresswoman Cori Bush Lead 100 Members of Congress in Working To Restore Access to Medicaid Reproductive Health Care Services
Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) led a letter, which 98 of their colleagues joined, to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to urge the immediate enforcement of Medicaid’s free choice of provider requirement, after states like Texas and Missouri excluded qualified providers from their Medicaid programs in violation of federal law, cutting off access to reproductive health care for many thousands of people. The federal “free choice” provision, also known as the “any willing provider” provision, guarantees Medicaid enrollees the right to receive family planning services from any willing and qualified provider, including Planned Parenthood. After reports last week revealed a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the need to protect existing access to reproductive health care is now more urgent and important than ever.
“We urge CMS to take action to protect the Medicaid program and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care services,” the Members wrote. “What has happened in Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Missouri will not end in these states. Without enforcement, even more states might see their reproductive health care severely restricted and pushed out of reach for communities most in need of the vital services provided by Planned Parenthood. The agency, under the Obama administration, has already warned that states cannot withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood and block people with Medicaid from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
“But more can and should be done to enforce the free choice of provider requirement. We request that CMS ensure health care access for people with Medicaid—who are disproportionately people of color, LGBTQ+ people, women, and other marginalized groups who face systemic barriers to economic advancement— and enforce Medicaid’s free choice of provider requirement immediately.”
Congresswoman Fletcher has consistently worked to expand access to quality, affordable reproductive health care. Earlier this year, she led Democratic Members in urging the enforcement of Medicaid’s free choice of provider requirement and to require the State of Texas to reinstate Planned Parenthood as a qualified Medicaid provider, demonstrating her commitment to the issue.
To view the full text of the letter, click here.