KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

No Abortion Coverage In High Risk Pools, HHS Says

News outlets report on abortion coverage restrictions in state high-risk pools.

"Elective abortion services will not be covered in state high-risk pools set up to provide coverage for sick people who can't get insurance, according to Obama administration officials," CQ HealthBeat reports. "The statement came following reports that abortion could be permitted in some states under proposals submitted for the pools." An HHS spokeswoman offered the statement "after anti-abortion groups said earlier this week that an executive order by President Obama banning federal financing of most abortions under the new health care law was being subverted in states such as Pennsylvania. The president's promise to issue the order was key to obtaining the support of anti-abortion Democrats such as Bart Stupak of Michigan for passage of the health care law" (Norman, 7/15).

The Hill: Planned Parenthood "is slamming"  the administration for the restriction. Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement that the group is "deeply disappointed" with the decision. "'The very women who need to purchase private health insurance in the new high-risk pools are likely to be more vulnerable to medically complicated pregnancies,' Richards added. 'It is truly harmful to these women that the administration may impose limits on how they use their own private dollars, limiting their health care options at a time when they need them most. This decision has no basis in the law and flies in the face of the intent of the high-risk pools that were meant to meet the medical needs of some of the most vulnerable women in this country'" (Pecquet, 7/15).

Politico: Meanwhile, at a Planned Parenthood event on Capitol Hill Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "received rock-star treatment from 300 energetic high-school and college-student volunteers clad in hot-pink T-shirts and flip flops. The students came to Washington from around the country to lobby lawmakers on the implementation of the health-care reform bill." Cecile Richards, "Pelosi's one-time deputy chief of staff, loaded on the plaudits when describing how Pelosi pushed the legislation despite concerns from anti-abortion Democrats like Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, whose name drew extended booing" (Aujla, 7/15).

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