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Guarantee Coverage for All Medically Necessary Services – Including Reproductive Care

May 30, 2021

Topics: Abortion Rights Choice Medicaid Medicare For All

Supreme Court to review Mississippi abortion law that advocates see as a path to diminish Roe v. Wade, Washington Post, May 17, 2021, By Robert Barnes

“The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review a restrictive Mississippi law that provides a clear path to diminish Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Abortion opponents for months have urged the court’s conservatives to seize the chance to reexamine the 1973 precedent. Mississippi is among many Republican-led states that have passed restrictions that conflict with the court’s precedents protecting abortion rights, hoping for a chance to get a case before a Supreme Court that they think is more amenable to their arguments.

In accepting the case for next term, the court said it would examine whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” That has been a key component of the court’s jurisprudence, and the announcement sounded ominous to abortion rights advocates.”

The incomplete promise of Medicaid expansion, Vox, May 17, 2021, By Dylan Scott 

“In November, Missourians voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, granting access to health insurance to roughly 230,000 people living in poverty. Now the state’s Republican legislators are defying the will of their voters by refusing to implement the expansion.

In late April, the Missouri Senate blocked funding for Medicaid expansion. Last week, Gov. Mike Parsons cited the lack of funding to justify withdrawing the expansion plan entirely.

The pattern demonstrates that, nearly a decade after the Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether to expand their Medicaid programs, the fight over whether to do so is far from over. So far, 38 states and Washington, DC, have expanded Medicaid, covering nearly 15 million people. In the dozen states that have not, 4 million people are uninsured who would receive Medicaid coverage if their state expanded eligibility under the ACA. More than 95 percent live in the South, they are disproportionately Black, and many are not eligible for subsidies to buy private coverage on the ACA markets.”


Comment by Eagan Kemp

While these two stories may not initially seem linked, Medicare for All supporters know that they both highlight just how tenuous access to health care remains when subject to the whims of states. Numerous states continue to fail their residents by refusing to expand Medicaid and also by attempting to restrict access to reproductive services, especially abortions. 

The answer to both of these problems is Medicare for All, which would guarantee coverage for all medically necessary services, including abortion and the full spectrum of reproductive health care services, and ensure that everyone in the U.S. can finally get the health care they need, regardless of where they live. 

Failure to pass Medicare for All and end the Hyde Amendment that sharply limits federal funding for abortion means that states can restrict health care access. If the Supreme Court overturns or severely curtails the protections provided by Roe v. Wade, many states would pass even more restrictive provisions inhibiting the right to choose. Many of the same states continue to refuse to expand Medicaid, even when approved in a referendum by a majority of state voters, as is in Missouri. 

This situation will place many pregnant women in a catch-22: both unable to afford the massive medical bills that come with pregnancy because they cannot access Medicaid (which pays for >40% of pregnancies nationwide), and unable to seek a legal abortion.

The time has come to protect reproductive rights from reactionary state forces, reverse the Hyde Amendment, and finally ensure that everyone in the U.S. can get the care they need when required. It’s time for Medicare for All.

About the Commentator, Eagan Kemp

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Eagan Kemp is the health care policy advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. He is an expert on a broad range of policy topics including single-payer systems, private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Veterans Health Administration, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, social determinants of health, mental health, and drug shortages. He previously served as senior policy analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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