By Dave Andrusko
As anticipated, the Obama administration yesterday made it official: it is pressuring states to restore Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.
Six states–Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas–have notified Planned Parenthood they were terminating Planned Parenthood’s participation in their states’ Medicaid program. Four other states have addressed or are addressing the issue in various manner. All ten received letters from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS].
Stories in publications such as the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal explain that the CMS sent a letter to state Medicaid directors stating, “Providing the full range of women’s health services [abortion] neither disqualifies a provider from participating in the Medicaid program, nor is the provision of such services inconsistent with the best interests of the beneficiary, and shall not be grounds for a state’s action against a provider in the Medicaid program,” the letter said.
The Washington Post noted that although the CMS has communicated with individual state Medicaid offices in the past, “this is the first time the agency has warned all the states collectively, officials said.”
The federal government last year provided some states that were cutting funding with guidance it released in a June 2011 memo, which says states aren’t permitted to exclude providers from Medicaid solely on the basis of the range of medical services they provide.
The memo also said, according to Armour,
states may exclude providers under certain circumstances, such as when providers commit fraud or certain criminal acts.
Planned Parenthood affiliates have sued a number of states, successfully in recent months in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Utah.
PPFA president Cecile Richards issued a statement in which she said, “What they couldn’t do in Congress, they’re now trying to do state by state, and jeopardizing care for more than half a million people.”
On Wednesday, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, a special panel within the Energy and Commerce Committee, heard testimony on “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue.”