Sunday, July 8, 2012

HHS Finds Indiana's Exclusion of Planned Parenthood Is Illegal

The federal Health and Human Services Department has rejected that Indiana's legislation to prevent Medicaid recipients to use Planned Parenthood as a provider of services because Planned Parenthood provides abortions among its services. A letter from Donald Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)to Indiana's Medicaid office said that the bill violates federal Medicaid law because it discriminates against Planned Parenthood for reasons other than its ability to provide quality health services.

The letter also indicates that this finding should not come as a surprise: "We assume this decision is not unexpected. 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.'"

The letter calls on Indiana to change its plan to conform with federal law, or the state could face penalties. HHS has not had to impose such penalties because other state have always changed their nonconforming laws. Read more from Huffington Post here.