By Dave Andrusko
On Tuesday Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation that would give new powers to the director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, “to decide that certain individuals or entities cannot participate in the system,” reported Howard Fischer of Capital Media Services.
The measure” most significantly allows AHCCCS at its ‘sole discretion’ to disqualify any entity that did not fully segregate the tax dollars it is getting to ensure none of those went to providing elective abortions.”
The legislation is in response to a federal appellate court decision that rejected an amendment to the program in 2012 that said any organization that provides abortions cannot be a “qualified provider.”
Fischer interview Gov. Ducey’s health policy adviser, Christina Corieri, who said
this measure is legally distinguishable in that it does not bar Planned Parenthood from providing family planning services solely because it also does abortions. More to the point, she said it’s justified.
“It has been longstanding policy that taxpayer funds cannot be used for abortions,” she said. Corieri said this simply ensures that policy — and the legal restrictions around public dollars — remains in place.
Corieri said there’s another difference. The 2012 law permanently barred abortion providers from participating in AHCCCS. The new law simply allows the agency to suspend any organization that does not adequately segregate its expenditures, meaning there’s an ability to once again become part of the Medicaid program.