Trump Admin. Withholding $200M in Medicaid Funds From California

Trump Admin. Withholding $200M in Medicaid Funds From California alex azar stands in briefing room Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (Pete Marovich/Getty Images

By Theodore Bunker | Thursday, 17 December 2020 10:02 AM

The Trump administration is preventing California from receiving $200 million in funding for Medicaid over its requirement that health insurance providers offer coverage of elective abortion, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights recently threatened to cut funding to California over the requirement, having issued a violation notice to the state recently. The Trump administration claims that California’s requirement is unconstitutional.

"We're taking enforcement action against the state of California for imposing universal abortion coverage mandates on health insurance in the state," Azar said at a White House event celebrating the administration’s work against abortion on Wednesday, according to CBS News. "We have informed California that this policy clearly violates federal conscience laws but the state refuses to fix the issue and comply. Accordingly, we plan to withhold $200 million in federal Medicaid funds from the state in the first quarter of 2021. And unless California amends its policies we will seek to withhold an additional $200 million every quarter until it complies."

CBS notes that the funds being withheld would normally help pay for the health care coverage of low-income people, the disabled, and the elderly.

Azar also said at the event that the Department of Justice will sue a hospital in Vermont that the administration claims forced a Catholic nurse to participate in an abortion procedure.