WASHINGTON (Reuters) - California on Monday will announce plans to award $20 million in emergency grants to local health and Planned Parenthood clinics in anticipation of possible U.S. healthcare funding cuts, according to State Treasurer John Chiang’s office.
California and more than a dozen other Democratic-leaning states are fighting against regulatory changes and policies coming from Republican President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.
The grants are intended to buy time for state lawmakers to address potential shortfalls caused by federal attempts to undo the Affordable Health Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, and to eliminate funding for women’s health and for contraception, the state said.
A California financing program will provide money for the grants, said Treasurer spokesman Marc Lifsher.
“The Community Clinic Lifeline Grant Program will help small or rural nonprofit clinics, including Planned Parenthood clinics, keep their doors open and provide critical services,” according to an announcement the Treasurer’s office posted on Friday.
Planned Parenthood, a national non-profit that provides contraception, health screenings and abortions, and the country’s long-standing divide over abortion are at the heart of the state’s move. Planned Parenthood representatives will join Chiang in unveiling the grant program, the announcement said.
Republicans generally oppose abortion. Recently, they approved a measure in Congress to allow states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal reproductive health funds. By law the funds cannot be used for abortions, but former Democratic President Barack Obama had ensured some money would go to Planned Parenthood clinics.
Actual federal funding reductions are still a while off.
In his recent proposed budget President Donald Trump called for slashing health and human services spending, and the Obamacare repeal the House of Representatives passed in April would eliminate federal funds for Planned Parenthood. But those moves do not have the force of law yet.
No other state appears to be developing a similar grant program.
Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Cynthia Osterman
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