HHS Says Indiana Cannot Refuse To Deny Planned Parenthood Medicaid Funding

The administration has told the state that it cannot discriminate against the provider when it comes to using Medicaid funding for family planning services.


The state of Indiana has learned that its attempt to de-fund the local Planned Parenthood organization will not go unnoticed. The Department of Health and Human Services has informed the state government that discrimination against providers is not allowed under Medicaid guidelines.

Huffington Post reports:

…Donald Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), sent a letter to Indiana’s Medicaid office on Wednesday saying that the bill violates federal Medicaid law because it discriminates against Planned Parenthood for reasons other than its ability to provide quality health services.

“We assume this decision is not unexpected,” the letter says. “As the Indiana Legislative Services Agency indicated in its April 19, 2011, fiscal impact statement, ‘While States are permitted to waive a recipient’s freedom of choice of a provider to implement managed care, restricting freedom of choice with respect to providers of family planning services is prohibited.'”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana is relieved at the decision.

“We are gratified by the federal government’s decision and thrilled that PPIN continues to be able to provide preventive health care to our patients.  Through its appeal, the State was continuing its attack on women’s rights and attempting to restrict access to basic, lifesaving services such as Pap tests, breast exams, STD testing and treatment, and birth control,” said Betty Cockrum, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana via statement.

“What is even more appalling is that these actions by the State would have penalized Hoosiers who are struggling to make ends meet right now – Hoosiers who are in need of the high-quality, affordable health care that PPIN provides.

“While we were not a party to this proceeding, we appreciate yet another positive outcome and continue to work every day to serve our patients and their reproductive health care needs.  All 28 of our health centers remain open, despite Indiana being the poster child for the nationwide legislative assault on women’s rights and the ability to choose.”

Planned Parenthood is still challenging the ban separately in the courts, which has so far injuncted the law from going into effect.  The State of Indiana is appealing that ruling.