Feds Say Indiana Can't Deny Medicaid Funds For Planned Parenthood
By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jul 10, 2012 4:00PM
A federal hearing officer says Indiana cannot deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood because that would deny women the freedom to choose their health care providers.
The state had wanted to deny funding to the organization because it offers abortion services, and it argued that Medicaid funds would indirectly subsidize abortions. Planned Parenthood officials said the loss of funding could force them to close clinics in Indiana.
The changes to Indiana's plan resulted from a 2011 law that would have made the state the first to deny the organization Medicaid funds for general health services, including cancer screenings. The law has been on hold while the dispute works its way through the courts.
The Indiana attorney general's office, which already is appealing a federal judge's order blocking the law, said it may also contest the panel's recommendation. The state had argued that the dispute should be decided administratively by the CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,] not in court.
Federal Hearing Officer Benjamin Cohen argues Indiana's law violates federal laws. “Indiana’s own Legislative Services Agency advised prior to the passage of HEA 1210 that, in fact, ‘Federal law permits states to define a qualified provider, but requires that this definition is related to a provider’s ability to perform a service and not what services are provided,’” Cohen wrote.