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State to defend Planned Parenthood ban after adverse Medicaid recommendation

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The Office of the Indiana Attorney General continues to defend a 2011 state law that denies Medicaid funding for health care services to Planned Parenthood because the organization performs abortions.  A federal hearing officer recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services disapprove the state Medicaid plan amendment in the law.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday released a recommendation in which federal hearing officer Benjamin Cohen wrote after an administrative rehearing that the plan amendment under Indiana’s law, HEA 1210, was “contrary to the plain language of the freedom of choice provision” regarding Medicaid. Cohen upheld a prior Medicaid ruling against the law.

Cohen cited the language of Section 1902(a)(23) of the Social Security Act that says “any individual eligible for medical assistance (including drugs) may obtain such assistance from any institution, agency, community pharmacy, or person, qualified to perform the service or services required.”

The state argues it has authority to set provider qualifications for Medicaid funding, and that providing money to Planned Parenthood indirectly subsidized abortions.

“Like any other petitioner who is entitled to a hearing, the State of Indiana appreciated the opportunity to try to explain to CMS the Indiana Legislature’s public policy decision that private providers ought not indirectly subsidize abortion procedures through Medicaid dollars and that the legislation had that separation in mind,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement.

“My office by law must defend the laws the Legislature passes, and we have always contended this is a dispute between the state and a federal government agency, not between the state and a Medicaid provider, and ultimately should be decided in the appropriate venue,” Zoeller said.

The law also has been challenged in federal court, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals could rule at any time on Indiana’s request to lift an injunction against portions of HEA 1210.

Planned Parenthood, joined by the ACLU of Indiana, challenged the law.

Planned Parenthood CEO Betty Cockrum said in a statement, “We are gratified by the federal government’s decision and thrilled that (Planned Parenthood of Indiana) 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.

“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 (Planned Parenthood) provides.”

 

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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