Feds Warn States that Defunding Planned Parenthood Could be Breaking the Law

by Joan McCarter –


Republican governors—particularly those running for president—have been quick to jump on the defunding Planned Parenthood bandwagon. So far three states—Alabama, Louisiana and New Hampshire—have announced their intention to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, and the organization says there are efforts afoot to do so in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Doing so, the Department of Health and Human Services has warned the states, could put them in violation of the law.

Federal law requires that Medicaid beneficiaries may obtain services, including family-planning care, from any qualified provider. Terminating Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid provider agreements restricts access by not permitting them to get services from providers of their choice, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. […]The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a unit of HHS, has notified Louisiana and Alabama, which have taken action to terminate their Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood, that they may be in conflict with federal law, according to HHS. CMS said that, by restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings.

The agency reached out to Louisiana’s Medicaid director on Aug. 5 and spoke with Alabama’s Medicaid agency on Aug. 7. CMS said it provided both states with guidance it released in 2011 on this issue. The June 2011 memo says states aren’t permitted to exclude providers from Medicaid solely on the basis of the range of medical services they provide. The memo says states may exclude providers under certain circumstances, such as when providers commit fraud or certain criminal acts.

Planned Parenthood has not committed fraud or a criminal act. In fact, in Louisiana Planned Parenthood doesn’t even provide abortions. In some previous attempts by states to cut off funding, Planned Parenthood has prevailed in court.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos


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