May 25, 2011
An Indiana law that steers money away from health care providers whose services include abortion may violate federal statutes. The new law exempts hospitals, but affects Planned Parenthood of Indiana. Of the 85,000 patients PPI served last year, 9,300 were in the federal- and state-funded Medicaid program. Most received contraceptives, but PPI also provided 26,500 Pap smears and 33,000 STD tests last year.
Federal officials have 90 days to review the law, which took effect on May 10. Administration officials have signaled they will not approve certain changes affecting Medicaid. If a state's program is out of compliance, federal officials can take corrective action including "the total or partial withholding" of federal Medicaid funds. Administration officials say the law impermissibly restricts the recipients' choice of health care providers.
"Federal law prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from being spent on abortion services," the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services noted in a statement on the law. "Medicaid does not allow states to stop beneficiaries from getting care they need, like cancer screenings and preventive care, because their provider offers certain other services. We are reviewing this particular situation and situations in other states."
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign a similar bill. Other states that have considered restricting payments to Planned Parenthood include North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The Indiana law prohibits state agencies from awarding grants to or contracting with "any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates" a facility that does so. Of Indiana Medicaid funds, about 66 percent are federal dollars, jumping to 90 percent for family planning.
"Medicaid clients who went to Planned Parenthood will have to go to someone else," said Marcus J. Barlow, a spokesperson for Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. "This is not a change in services. It's a change in providers."
New York Times
05.23.2011; Robert Pear
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