Thursday, March 29, 2007

HHS Official Resigns Amid Mass. Debacle

Thursday March 29, 2007 11:46 PM


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of the federal agency responsible for providing women with access to contraceptives and pregnancy counseling resigned unexpectedly Thursday after Medicaid officials took action against him in Massachusetts.

The Health and Human Services Department provided no details about the nature of the Massachusetts action that led to Dr. Eric Keroack's resignation.

Just five months ago, Keroack was chosen by President Bush to oversee HHS' Office of Population Affairs and its $283 million annual budget. The pick angered Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion rights groups that viewed him as opposed to birth control and comprehensive sex education. Keroack had worked for an organization that opposes contraception.

``Yesterday, Dr. Eric Keroack alerted us to an action taken against him by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Office of Medicaid. As a result of this action I accepted his resignation,'' Dr. John Agwunobi, assistant secretary for health, said in a terse statement Thursday evening.

Massachusetts Medicaid officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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