A year ago, the state of Indiana attempted to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood because the organization offered abortions as a service. A federal hearing officer opposed this logic stating that such a law would deny women the right to choose their health care provider under Medicaid.
This year, the same anti-abortion legislation is facing an equally hard uphill battle. Medicaid officials state that an attempt to block Medicaid funding conflicts with the statute that allows patients to choose their health care providers.
A hearing officer this past week argued that the original decision made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last year should be upheld this year, the Associated Press reports.
Conversely, the Indiana attorney general’s office wants to appeal the original decision to allow the continuation of Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood patients. Indiana has argued over the last year that allowing funds to reach Planned Parenthood indirectly funded abortions.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana CEO Betty Cockrum communicated her satisfaction at the federal government’s block on the anti-abortion funding legislation. In an official statement, she said:
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.
The original 2011 law that was proposed last year would have made Indiana the first state in the country to deny an organization Medicaid funds for health services, such as general health and cancer screenings. All of the 28 clinics in Indiana remain open despite these recent threats to funding.
The state still hopes to file an exception to the current law. A possible change could require Planned Parenthood to establish separate funds for abortion procedures. The hearing officer maintains that restricting the choice of a provider based on non-covered care is simply not allowed.
Photo Credit: S. MiRK