Washington, DC – Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, chief executive officer of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, released the following statement:
“ACOG is deeply disappointed that, by recently approving restrictive state Medicaid waivers in Georgia and Nebraska, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to make Medicaid coverage and access to Medicaid-covered services more difficult for our patients to obtain. Medicaid was established to ensure that health care is available to all who are eligible, without condition. The waivers that CMS has approved in recent weeks and months serve the sole purpose of making coverage less accessible and will ensure that the program fails to meet its essential mission.
“These Medicaid changes will no doubt fall heaviest on low-income women. Women represent almost two-thirds of those at risk of losing coverage under work requirements. Further, women have increased health care needs compared to men, so may be negatively affected by the excessive out-of-pocket costs imposed in these waivers. Rather than punishing women by making it harder for them to access health care, the government should be focusing on how improved access to reliable health coverage, including extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months after delivery, can address the ongoing maternal mortality crisis and, importantly, help us improve health equity across the country. Moreover, the approval of these waivers runs counter to the stated goal of the Department of Health and Human Services to improve maternal health outcomes.
“It is especially unsettling that CMS and state bureaucrats are moving forward with restrictive health care policies in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, which has already cost more than 200,000 lives across the country and underscores the critical importance of the Medicaid program. Health care coverage must be reliable and stable for all of our patients now and as we continue to battle COVID-19. Taking coverage away from those who have already been disproportionately impacted by the virus will certainly cost additional lives.”