On Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, to block the Biden administration’s demanding that healthcare providers provide abortions in medical emergencies.
Paxton’s suit argues federal law does not include the right to an abortion. On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra “warned hospitals and physicians that they are required to provide abortions in medical emergencies where it is necessary treatment to protect the life of a pregnant woman. Becerra said hospitals and physicians who refuse to comply could have their Medicare provider agreements terminated and face financial penalties” reports CNBC.
Becerra’s comments came quickly after President Joe Biden issued an executive order last week directing HHS to protect access to abortion.
Becerra said his requirement is protected under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act law, and that it pre-empts state laws which restrict abortion access in emergency situations.
Paxton argues the law does not mandate any specific “treatment” such as abortion, therefore rendering the HHS requirement unlawful, unconstitutional and unenforceable.
Abortion became illegal in Texas under a law from 1925 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, which protected access to the procedure as a constitutional right for nearly 50 years. The ban is enforced right now through fines and lawsuits…
…At least nine states have banned abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Several other states have tried to ban the procedure but their laws have been blocked by state courts.
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Elizabeth Warren Acknowledges Unintended Consequences of Obamacare
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a longtime supporter of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is now acknowledging the unintended consequences of the healthcare legislation, particularly its impact on industry consolidation and rising healthcare prices.
Warren, who has been a vocal proponent of Obamacare, has recently had what the Wall Street Journal reported as an “epiphany” regarding the consequences of the healthcare law. In a letter addressed to the Health and Human Services Department inspector general, Warren, along with Senator Mike Braun of Indiana, expressed concerns about vertically-integrated healthcare companies potentially increasing prescription drug costs and evading federal regulations.
According to reports from Fox News, the bipartisan letter highlighted issues with the nation’s largest health insurers allegedly bypassing Obamacare’s medical loss ratio (MLR). According to Warren, these insurers, through vertical integration, have manipulated the system, leading to “sky-high prescription drug costs and excessive corporate profits.”
The senators detailed how conglomerates, like UnitedHealth Group, with ownership across various healthcare sectors, could inflate medical payments to pharmacies and, by realizing those payments on the pharmacy side, appear to comply with MLR requirements while retaining more profits.
Moreover, despite the Democrats’ argument that the MLR would benefit patients, it has incentivized insurers to merge with or acquire pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), retail and specialty pharmacies, and healthcare providers. This, in turn, has made healthcare spending less transparent, as insurers can allegedly shift profits to their affiliates by increasing reimbursements.
Warren, who has consistently voted against Obamacare repeal efforts, notably advocated for a “Medicare for All” proposal during her 2020 presidential campaign. Despite her prior support for the healthcare law, Warren’s recent concerns about its unintended consequences have raised questions about the long-term effects of Obamacare and its impact on the healthcare industry.
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