Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Chief Deputy Whip, strongly condemned alleged Trump administration collusion with an extreme anti-choice group in an effort to restrict Medicaid recipients’ access to Planned Parenthood. The allegations are based on new information released by Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week.
“I am extremely concerned by these revelations,” DeGette said. “If true, they would mean that the Trump administration is taking direct orders from a radical anti-choice group motivated by false reports about Planned Parenthood. These allegations were clearly debunked through House Republicans’ now-defunct Select Panel, in which I took part as a minority member. It’s frightening that this administration not only seeks to restrict the ‘free of choice provider’ to which women are entitled, but is doing so based on the whims of an ongoing witch hunt against women’s health based on lies.”
“It’s frightening that this administration not only seeks to restrict the ‘free of choice provider’ to which women are entitled, but is doing so based on the whims of an ongoing witch hunt against women’s health based on lies.”
In a letter to Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan, Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings said a whistleblower gave him documents appearing to show coordination between the administration and right-wing anti-choice organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group.
On January 19, the Trump administration sent a letter to state Medicaid directors rescinding Obama-era guidance informing states that it is against the law to terminate funds for family planning providers such as Planned Parenthood based on unsubstantiated allegations, including false reports claiming the organization illegally sold fetal tissue and organs. The Obama administration’s actions were meant to clarify the “free of choice provider” provision, established in 1967, ensuring that a state may not deny Medicaid beneficiaries the ability to see the provider of their choice unless there is sufficient basis.
The documents reviewed and published in redacted form today by Cummings and his colleagues indicated that a first draft of this was provided by the Alliance Defending Freedom. They further show that several Trump appointees at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Health and Human Services were directly involved in this effort.
Cummings has requested further documents and communications from the agency concerning the January 19 letter and any outside coordination with Alliance Defending Freedom or similar organizations.
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