Washington, DC—Haywood L. Brown, M.D., president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) decision to approve harmful policies through Section 1115 waivers:
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is deeply disappointed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is making access to Medicaid-covered services more difficult for our patients to obtain. For low-income women, Medicaid is often the only source of reliable coverage. We call on this Administration to reverse course and pledge its full support for this program. The Administration should work with states to strengthen our Nation’s safety net, not erode it.
“Since it began in 1965, the Medicaid program has become the Nation’s largest health insurer and is integral to our fiscal growth. Medicaid is an economic driver, and the federal and state governments should be pursuing policies to sustain and strengthen it, rather than finding ways to keep low-income women and families out of the program.
“These Medicaid changes will no doubt fall heaviest on low-income women. Women have increased health care needs, including reproductive health care, that may be negatively affected by the excessive out-of-pocket costs imposed in these waivers. Further, women make up almost two-thirds of enrollees at risk of losing coverage under work requirements.
“Imposing lockouts, excessive out-of-pocket costs, and work requirements under the mistaken notion that Medicaid participants are undeserving of coverage is not the way to improve health outcomes or the health of our nation. These waivers will jeopardize women’s ability to maintain their health and well-being, as well as plan and space their pregnancies.
“Every day, ob-gyns see the harmful impact that unequal access to health care has on women and communities. We’ll say it again: Don’t turn back the clock on women’s health.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org