New Brief: Wisconsin’s Proposed Changes to Reproductive Health Funding

several patients wait in a clinic lobby

NEW CORE BRIEF: What would happen if reproductive healthcare providers were unable to participate in the Wisconsin Medicaid program?

Members of the Wisconsin state legislature recently passed new legislation that would prohibit healthcare organizations that perform abortions from being certified under the state’s Medical Assistance program.  This prohibition would mean that these clinics could not be reimbursed for other healthcare services provided to Wisconsinites as part of the state’s Medicaid program. Evidence suggests that this policy would have a negative impact on thousands of residents.

The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk.

What is the policy?
Existing Wisconsin state law already prohibits the use of any state, local, or federal funding to cover abortion care services except in limited circumstances. The proposed bill would add a major new level of restriction: it would prevent any healthcare organization that performs abortions from participating in the Medicaid program altogether. Most centrally, this ban would impact family planning clinics that provide abortion care, preventing them from seeking reimbursement from the Medicaid program for any of the reproductive health services they provide, not only abortion. Such vital services include contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and breast and cervical cancer screening.

Implications for Wisconsin
Research indicates that if Wisconsin state law were to prohibit healthcare providers that perform abortions from participating in the state Medicaid program, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites would lose access to essential reproductive healthcare services.

Read the full brief here, and check out our visual explainer on Instagram or Twitter.