Iowa House Budget Bill Would Bar Medicaid Coverage for Abortions, Elective C-Sections

May 2, 2013 —The Iowa House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a budget bill that includes provisions that would end Medicaid coverage of abortions in any circumstances, as well as elective caesarean-section deliveries, Radio Iowa reports (Henderson, Radio Iowa, 4/30). The legislation now heads to the full House, where the abortion restrictions could complicate the bill's passage, according to the Des Moines Register.

Iowa's Medicaid program currently covers abortions in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal abnormalities and when a woman's life is at risk (Noble, Des Moines Register, 4/30). The budget provision -- backed by House Republicans -- would end all abortion coverage through Medicaid. The measure also would prohibit state funding for services provided by Planned Parenthood, including birth control and cancer screenings (Radio Iowa, 4/30).

Several Democrats objected to the provision. State Rep. Lisa Heddens (D) warned that the language conflicts with federal law and could jeopardize $3 billion in Medicaid funding for the state (Des Moines Register, 4/30).

C-Section Provision

The committee on Tuesday also passed a budget amendment that Republicans estimated could save the state $1.2 million by barring Medicaid coverage of elective c-sections.

State Rep. Dave Heaton (R) said the amendment is not intended to "get in between an emergency procedure or a medically necessary C-section." He added, "[W]e are saying that perhaps one should really examine whether or not the C-section is necessary before [it's] performed."

State Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D), who opposed the bill, said, "I have not seen evidence of elective C-sections in Iowa being something that is an epidemic problem."

State Rep. Tyler Olson (D) said, "This room is not the place for us to be making medical decisions about what care is appropriate for Iowans," adding, "Those decisions are made in the doctor's offices and hospitals" (Radio Iowa, 4/30).