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Published On: Mon, Nov 2nd, 2015

Obama administration theatens Texas over Planned Parenthood funding

The Obama administration is threatening to sue Texas over Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood just days after Texas 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.”

Now 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.”

photo Charles Fettinger via Flickr

photo Charles Fettinger via Flickr

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.”

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.

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.”

 

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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