Over the past five years TennCare has paid for, on average, three abortions per year.
TennCare spokeswoman Sarah Tanksley told The Tennessee Star that TennCare only covers abortions in “extremely limited circumstances” required by federal law — rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is endangered.
These were among some of the statistics the Tennessee Department of Health released this week at The Star’s request.
According to TennCare statistics, in 2017 TennCare covered six abortions, all falling within federal requirements. The state spent $2,026.54.
The year before, TennCare covered three abortions, and the state dollar spend for that was $765.55. Meanwhile, in 2015 TennCare covered one abortion with the state spending $519.27.
The Star also requested stats on how much money the state gave Planned Parenthood during the past three fiscal years. The organization received $14,787.92 in 2015. That amount more than doubled to $31,855.97 the following year. In 2017 the amount decreased slightly to $27,679.
“Please note that these (Planned Parenthood) expenditures were for family planning services,” Tanksley said in an emailed statement regarding the organization.
Planned Parenthood offers family planning services as well as abortions.
“No Medicaid dollars were used to pay for abortions performed at Planned Parenthood during this time,” she added.
As The Star reported last month, Tennessee officials may soon have the power to stop Medicaid dollars from going to clinics in Tennessee that perform abortions.
This is meant to curb the power and influence of Planned Parenthood in Tennessee, according to a new article in Bloomberg.
The Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups want the government to strip Planned Parenthood of federal Medicaid reimbursements, naming it America’s leading abortion provider, the website said.
During this year’s Tennessee General Assembly, State Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) and State Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) filed legislation that asked to exclude providers who performed more than 50 abortions in the prior year from participation in TennCare. Members of the legislature passed it. Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signed it into law in April.
“The move signals growing GOP interest in using administrative means to rein in providers that offer abortion and underscores state confidence in the Trump administration’s friendliness to the conservative policy priority,” the website reported.
Nationwide, Planned Parenthood received $543.7 million in taxpayer money in fiscal year 2016.
Medicaid funds generally can’t get used to cover most abortions under the Hyde Amendment, Bloomberg reported.
Tennessee officials are asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to block providers that performed more than 50 abortions in the past year from its Section 1115 Medicaid waiver, Bloomberg reported.
The publication quoted an unidentified spokeswoman for the state’s Medicaid program TennCare.
“Public comments on the request close Sept. 23,” Bloomberg reported.
TennCare pays for health care for about 1.4 million people at a cost of about $12 billion per year, according to Bloomberg.
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