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CMS Affirms Access To Reproductive Health Care On Same Day Supreme Court Strikes Down Roe v. Wade – Healthcare

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Friday, June 24, 2022, began with the United States Supreme
Court’s publication of its decision to overturn Roe v.
Wade
. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health
Organization
(19-1392), the Supreme Court held: “The Constitution does not confer a right to
abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to
regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected
representatives.

Nationwide, the reactions to the Dobbs decision was
immediate and divisive. President Biden held a press conference on the
same day, calling the decision “a tragic error,” and
urging voters to the polls in the upcoming midterm elections.

On the other side of the issue, the National Right to Life
Committee advocacy group (NRLC) praised the Dobbs
decision, with NRLC President Carol Tobias stating that the
Court has correctly decided that a right to
abortion is not in the constitution, thereby allowing the people,
through their elected representatives, to have a voice in this very
important decision.

The divisive nature of the abortion rights issue is now an issue
of state law. The Dobbs decision returned the authority to
allow or restrict abortion to the states, holding “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of
each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey
arrogated that authority. The Court overrules those decisions and
returns that authority to the people and their elected
representatives.
” Predictably, the major news outlets predict a wave of legislation
and activism from advocates on both sides of the issue
.

Another complicated issue that will arise from the
Dobbs decision is whether or how access to reproductive
health care and insurance coverage may change. One strong
indication of the national federal position on reproductive health
care came through as The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services (“CMS”) issued the following statement from CMS Administrator
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on the same day the Dobbs decision
was issued
:

A woman’s right to make decisions about her health is
essential. As we review today’s Supreme Court decision, as the
Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,
I will do everything in my authority to ensure that people have the
choice of when and how to start a family.

Today, more than 150 million people are served by Medicare,
Medicaid and CHIP, and the Affordable Care Act, including more than
80 million women and girls. To you I say: CMS will continue working
to maintain and expand access to the full range of reproductive
health care services across the lifespan—that includes IUDs,
emergency contraception, oral contraception, other forms of
contraception, and abortion care within our legal authority. It is
our fundamental value that reproductive health care is critical to
ensuring that everyone can build healthy lives with economic
security.

In contrast, whether commercial health insurance can cover
abortion and other forms of reproductive services will now have to
be assessed in light of the type of insurance at issue and the
specific state laws in question.

How the complex and overlapping issues involved in the issue of
insurance coverage for reproductive health care services will be
resolved is unknown. However, it is clear the effect of the
Dobbs decision on health care coverage will be
wide-ranging, adding to the extraordinary impact the Dobbs
decision is likely to have.

Nexsen Pruet will be tracking changes in state law as a result
of Dobbs that will impact health care providers. We will
publish updates as the law evolves, and please let us know if
Nexsen Pruet can assist you in navigating this changing regulatory
landscape.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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