TennCare moves to implement new TN ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ law

In compliance with a law approved earlier this year by the state legislature, TennCare officials last week applied to the federal government for a waiver that could block clinics that provide abortions from being paid for other health care services, reports the Johnson City Press. An ETSU professor says there may be unintended consequences including more abortions; a legislator disagrees.

No TennCare funding (currently) can be used to pay for elective abortion procedures, but the waiver seeks to withhold Medicaid reimbursements for all services, like contraceptive services, screening for sexually transmitted diseases and routine gynecological exams, from providers that performed or operated a facility that performed more than 50 abortions in the previous year.

The state legislature voted in March to direct the state to apply for the waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services establishing, according to the waiver, “it is the policy of the state of Tennessee to favor childbirth and family planning services that do not include elective abortions within the continuum of care or services, and to avoid the direct or indirect use of state funds to promote or support elective abortions.”

Dr. William Block, chair of the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said the lawmaker’s actions could increase the number of abortions in the state, the opposite of their intended effect.

“The problem is, there may be unintended consequences, like the lack of contraception for women who need it,” he said. “If women don’t have access to those services anymore, there probably will be a rise in unintended pregnancies and an increase in demand for abortions.”

… Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, voted for the waiver requirement in committee and on the House floor this year. He said Friday he doesn’t believe Block’s claim that it could lead to more abortions in the state.

“I don’t think that it is a very valid argument, because you can go to any of the county health departments and get your contraception there,” Hill said. “You can go to any of the community clinics that aren’t doing abortions, and I think the argument that it’s somehow limiting that access — I don’t think there’s any weight to that argument.

Note: In the legislature, the bill was promoted as a measure to “defund Planned Parenthood.” Previous post on legislative approval of the measure is HERE.  A federal appeals court has struck down an Ohio law that’s somewhat similar to the Tennessee law, as noted in a previous post HERE.


7 Responses to TennCare moves to implement new TN ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ law

  • Bob Fischer says:

    And just how does the legislature propose to make up for the void left by the demise of Planned Parenthood for low income uninsured and underinsured? It’s not just unplanned pregnancies and the subsequent abortions (commonly known as miscarriages by by right to lifers who want to pretend that women don’t have a right to pre-natal care, they should just be forced to bear the children our dictators decree them to and bear the burdens o0n their own) that will increase but incidents of breast and uterine cancer, venereal diseases, and common ailments that can quickly turn into serious conditions. Unless Tennessee is willing to provide affordable comprehensive healthcare for all, this is nothing more than a government mandated death sentence for the poor.

  • Silence Dogood says:

    If abortion is not the business of PP, then we’ve got no trouble. I am not interested in paying for other people abortions. Low income, no income, not interested! Abortion is killing children. Abortion is nothing more than a death sentence for children. Own it, liberals.

  • James White says:

    And Health Care is Not a Right.

  • Bob Fischer says:

    Medicaid (TennCare) does not, nor has it for quite some time, cover the cost of abortion. This is not an issue of approving nor disapproving a healthcare procedure that some claim to disapprove of for moral reasons. This is an issue of whether or not government can deny routine healthcare, including prenatal care (that means having the baby in question Silence Dogwood) to medical centers that put the privacy of their patients above government interference. This isn’t even about abortion, it’s about government intervention in the rights of women. Like it or not, abortion is the constitutional right of an individual woman. Government regulation designed to interfere with that right, at the expense of poor and working women is not only unconstitutional, it’s just another example of a fascist state. And James White, access to abortion is a right, and until ROE v. Wade is overturned, it will remain one.

  • Norma Shirk says:

    It’s a lot cheaper to get a vasectomy or use a condom than to get an abortion or raise a child to adulthood. Concern for the “unborn” is simply a smokescreen to allow men to avoid responsibility for their part in creating a child while blaming women for the consequences and then denying the most vulnerable women any health care options. I’ve never yet heard a Bible-thumping “Christian” anti-abortionist tell a man to act like an adult man and take responsibility for his actions. If men had to be responsible for their actions in creating a baby (and then raising it to adulthood), the whole anti-abortion movement would disappear.

  • Silence Dogood says:

    And abortion is the killing of a child. Once each of YOU understands that fact, the whole abortion movement will go away. And no one is guaranteed health care out of my families paycheck as a right.

  • Kay White says:

    Thank you to Matthew Hill for standing against Abortion! Also a special thank you to Micah Van Huss and Matthew’s brother Timothy Hill who also stand in representation against Abortion for the Pro Life Citizens they represent. I am pro life and cannot imagine how anyone sleeps when they willingly take the life of an unborn child. So many childless homes in East TN that would give anything to give that child a wonderful home! Our nation started deteriorating when we allowed the Ten Commandments and Prayer to be taken out of our schools and look what it has escalated to: Murdering, Cold Blood Mudering of innocent children who never will get the chance to succeed in life!

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