By Micaiah Bilger
A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers questioned the Biden administration Thursday for denying the state legislature’s request to expand Medicaid for mothers of newborns.
In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, two dozen Texas House lawmakers urged the administration to reconsider its decision and allow Texas to expand critical postpartum care for mothers in need.
“The failure to approve our application would be a major setback for Texas as a large, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers at our state Capitol have sought to better support hundreds of thousands of new mothers, children and families – and such a decision will put the care and needs of those Texans at risk,” the lawmakers wrote.
In recent months, pro-abortion Democrats have accused pro-life states like Texas of not doing enough to support mothers and babies or reduce maternal mortality.
But pro-life Texans have been working to expand support services for pregnant and parenting mothers as well as enacting legal protections for unborn babies, and one of the ways was through legislation that passed last year to expand Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 60 days to six months.
Last week, however, the Biden administration rejected the request without giving a reason, The Texas Tribune reports.
“The GOP led TX Leg passed an extension in postpartum care from 60 days to 6 months, for mothers on Medicaid,” said state Rep. Jacey Jetton, R-Sugar Land, who signed the letter. “The Biden Admin has denied our app to extend this care. I’m proud to join the bipartisan letter to the Biden Admin asking them to reconsider.”
Texas House lawmakers told the Biden administration that improving maternal health care has been one of their top priorities, and they plan to do more to combat maternal mortality when the legislature reconvenes. The lawmakers said they are focused on making “meaningful improvements in support of Texas moms, children and families.”
Some believe the Biden administration rejected the request because of Texas’s pro-life stance on abortion.
Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott blasted the Biden administration in a statement, saying the president is putting party politics ahead of women’s healthcare.
“The Biden Administration is risking robbing mothers of services that Texas specifically extended for them post-partum,” Abbott said. “It risks the lives and health of Texas women and their babies all for the sake of a political agenda. Last session, I worked with the legislature to pass into law bipartisan legislation to extend Medicaid health care coverage to six months post-partum and also provide $345 million for women’s health programs.”
Abbott, a pro-life Republican, hinted that Texas may challenge the decision in court. He urged Biden to reverse the “unconscionable move, or get ready for a fight.”
According to the Tribune, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee recommended the Medicaid expansion as a top priority to protect women’s lives.
Texas Right to Life encouraged women to visit TexasPregnancy.org to find free pregnancy support in their local communities.
Responding to the Biden administration’s action, the pro-life organization said: “This blatantly political and partisan move will only have the effect of hurting Texas women and families. Texas will continue to fight the Biden administration’s radical abortion agenda and protect mothers and children in our state.”
While denying health care to low-income mothers in Texas, Biden has been pushing to force taxpayers to fund elective abortions through Medicaid since he took office. Last week, he signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to explore ways to skirt the Hyde Amendment and use Medicaid dollars to pay for pregnant women in pro-life states to travel to other states for an abortion.
Taxpayer funding for abortions is hugely unpopular with Americans. A Marist poll in January found that 73 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions.
Meanwhile, pro-life Texas lawmakers have been passing laws and expanding support services to protect both women and babies, born and unborn.