Obama admin to Texas: You can’t defund Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The Obama administration is threatening to sue another state over Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.
This time, it's Texas, which last week raided Planned Parenthood clinics in surprise inspections, days after pulling Planned Parenthood's funding. According to Stuart Bowen, Jr., the inspector general in the state's Health and Human Services Commission, the state's Planned Parenthood arm "committed and condoned numerous acts of misconduct captured on video that reveal repeated program violations and breach the minimum standards of care required of a Medicaid enrollee."
But according to a federal health official, canceling the abortion organization's funding would break federal law.
"Longstanding Medicaid law prohibits states from restricting individuals with Medicaid coverage from receiving their care from any qualified provider," said a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson in a statement provided to the Texas Tribune. "Every year, millions of women benefit from critical preventive services, such as cancer screenings, that Planned Parenthood provides. State efforts to restrict women from using qualified providers puts these important health care services at risk."
Bowen's letter pushes back against that argument, telling Planned Parenthood, "Your termination and that of all your affiliates will not affect access to care in this state, because there are thousands of alternate providers in Texas, including federally qualified health centers, Medicaid-certified rural health clinics, and other health care providers across the State that participate in the Texas Women's Health Program and Medicaid."
This new front on the fight over Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood mirrors those seen in Kansas – where the administration pulled $370,000 in federal women's health care funding – and other states that have announced intentions to pull funding.
A leading pro-life attorney told Congress that the Obama administration's interpretation of federal law is more about politics than policy or the rule of law.
"The idea that a Medicaid provider … say, a gynecologist, accused of abusing women – the idea that we would require that Medicaid continue to provide funding to that doctor until a jury actually convicts would be abhorrent," Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox told a congressional subcommittee in September.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has had problems with Texas in the past. In 2013, the group settled a $1.4 million whistleblower lawsuit with the state. The abortion giant also saw its funding pulled by former governor Rick Perry, a move that Mattox said didn't lead to harm for women across the state.
According to Mattox, "the number of contraception claims in Texas did immediately drop" after Planned Parenthood funding was pulled, "but [so did] the actual pregnancy rate in Texas, as did the abortion rate in Texas."
"So we haven't seen, in Texas ... the public health catastrophe we've been told to expect."
Later, Mattox said that "in the last two decades or so, about 9,000 providers [were] excluded from Medicaid. In most of those cases, they're completely uncontroversial. … When it's Planned Parenthood, however, you have the Centers for Medicaid Services reinterpret the Medicaid statute to deny states the opportunity to exclude those providers."
"That is a privilege that other providers don't get to have."