4 Things to Know About Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the First Black Woman to Head Medicaid – Self

Through CMS, the Obama administration issued a stern reminder that by law, people can use Medicaid to access the provider of their choice. But in the Trump era, the agency rescinded this “free choice of provider” guidance and replaced it with its own tacit encouragement for GOP state officials to carry on their war against Planned Parenthood. In March a federal appeals court allowed Texas to kick Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid, stranding some 8,000 patients.

Brooks-LaSure now “will have the power to reaffirm vital legal protections, including the Medicaid Act’s free choice of provider provisions, that ensure access to reproductive and sexual health services in Medicaid, CHIP, and the ACA marketplaces,” Madeline Morcelle, a staff attorney for the National Health Law Program, tells SELF.

On maternal health:

Brooks-LaSure inherits a Medicaid program that covers more than 4 in 10 births nationwide, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The proportion is higher in some states.

The most recent COVID-19 relief package permits states to expand Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum. Until now, pregnant people with low incomes could only count on 60 days. “This leaves many, especially Black, Indigenous, and other