Arkansas again cuts off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood

By Dave Andrusko

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison

Two weeks ago, NRL News Today reported that the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had denied a request to reconsider a three-judge panel’s decision that upheld Arkansas’s determination to discontinue Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

The August 16 ruling by the three-judge panel vacated U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker’s orders in 2015 and 2016 directing the state to continue paying for Planned Parenthood services for Medicaid recipients.

On Monday the Associated Press’s Andrew DeMillo reported the state’s Department of Human Services [DHS] had once again cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood .

“DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said the state terminated the group’s status as a Medicaid provider last week after the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision formally took effect,” DeMillo explained.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker

At the same time Planned Parenthood said it had not decided whether to appeal to the Supreme Court, Aaron Samulcek, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said in a statement, “Planned Parenthood Great Plains remains committed to serving our patients regardless of their ability to pay while we continue fighting to protect the right of Arkansas women and families to access critical health care services.”

The lawsuit brought by three Planned Parenthood Great Plains patients had argued a full court review was necessary because the decision conflicts with the funding decisions of other appeals courts.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson welcomed the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision. “It is important for the state to have the clear authority to terminate Medicaid providers who act in unethical ways and in violation of state policy,” he said in a November 14 statement. “The decision early on to terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider was the right decision, and I am delighted with the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the right of the State to take this action.”

Gov. Hutchinson ended the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood in 2015. Referring to what were then-six undercover videos brought to the public’s attention by the undercover work of the Center for Medical Progress, Gov. Hutchinson said, ‘It is apparent that after recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them.”

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