HHS probing whether or not Illinois discriminated towards insurers that restricted abortion protection

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The Well being and Human Providers (HHS) Division opened an investigation into whether or not Illinois violated federal legislation by discriminating towards insurers that excluded or restricted protection for abortions.

Beneath the Weldon Modification, federally funded governments are prohibited from discriminating towards these insurers. The Thomas Extra Society, a conservative authorized nonprofit, introduced Tuesday that HHS had notified them of the investigation in a letter despatched simply earlier than President Biden’s inauguration.

Despatched by the Workplace of Civil Rights (OCR) deputy director Luis Perez, the letter learn: “OCR is investigating whether or not the state of Illinois, via its Division of Insurance coverage and Division of Central Administration Providers, is discriminating towards well being plan issuers and plans that might provide well being protection that restricted or excluded abortion protection however for the Reproductive Well being Act.” 

Illinois’ Reproductive Well being Act requires non-public insurers to cowl abortion. It is unclear how the investigation will proceed beneath Biden’s management, nevertheless it resembled an analogous investigation HHS undertook that finally resulted in threatening to revoke Medicaid funding for California.

That case confronted roadblocks beneath former President Obama’s administration in 2016, whereas Biden was vice chairman. OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels mentioned on the time that California didn’t violate the Weldon Modification.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS FUNDING FOR CALIFORNIA, BRINGS DOJ SUIT OVER ABORTION ISSUES

Discover of the investigation got here somewhat greater than a 12 months after HHS obtained Thomas Extra Society’s grievance concerning the concern in October of 2019. It is unclear why the division took a 12 months to ship its notification, however the delay got here after former administration officers beforehand advised Fox Information that Trump’s agenda on abortion and non secular liberty had been stalled by the attorneys throughout the HHS Workplace of Common Counsel that oversaw OCR.

HHS didn’t instantly reply to Fox Information’ request for remark. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s workplace blasted the grievance.

“This sham grievance is a final ditch effort by the Trump administration to disclaim ladies their rights,” Press Secretary Jordan Abudyyeh advised Fox Information. “The Governor’s Workplace will work with the Legal professional Common to reply appropriately, and within the meantime we stay up for working with the Biden administration to make sure ladies’s rights and entry to healthcare are protected.”

In December, HHS introduced long-awaited actions on two alleged civil rights violations, together with one through which a nurse was allegedly pressured to help with an abortion. That grievance was filed in Could of 2018.

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One other disallowed federal cash from flowing to California’s Medicaid program after the state pressured insurers to cowl abortions. The division had notified California Legal professional Common Xavier Becerra of the violation in January and given him 30 days to right the issue. California continued, nonetheless, and HHS’ disallowal did not come until December.

Becerra, in the meantime, has been tapped to steer HHS beneath Biden and has repeatedly opposed the Trump administration’s agenda inside OCR.

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