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The Facts

  • Texas legislators announced Tuesday that Planned Parenthood would be dropped from the state’s Medicaid program.
  • In a legal notice given to the Texas Tribune, lawmakers said the organization’s Medicaid funding will be stopped in 30 days.
  • Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas recieved $3.1 million in Medicaid funding between August 2014 and August 2015, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
    • $310,000 (10%) of the group’s Medicaid funding came from the state.
  • Yvonne Gutierrez, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, told the Tribune:

“Planned Parenthood continues to serve Medicaid patients and will seek a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit filed in November 2015, following the state’s original threats to take action against Planned Parenthood’s patients.”

  • Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General Stuart Bowen cited undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress and a previous Medicaid settlement (Reynolds v. Planned Parenthood) in which Planned Parenthood allegedly used fraudulent billing methods to increase Medicaid payouts.
  • Texas Health and Human Services Inspector General Stuart Bowen wrote in Tuesday’s letter:

“Your misconduct is directly related to whether you are qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner. Your actions violate generally accepted medical standards, as reflected in state and federal law, and are Medicaid program violations that justify termination.”

The Context

  • Planned Parenthood paid $4.3 million in the 2014 Reynolds settlement, after former employee Karen Reynolds filed a federal lawsuit against the organization.
  • Texas first notified Planned Parenthood that it would stop receiving Medicaid funding in an October 2015 “notice of termination” letter.
  • In the state’s 2015 letter, the Texas HHS Inspector General wrote:

“In Reynolds, a Planned Parenthood Whistleblower alleged sufficient evidence of fraud to assure the federal court handling the matter that the case was worth pursuing, after which Planned Parenthood promptly settled the lawsuit for $4.3 million…

The State has determined that you and your Planned Parenthood affiliates are no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner.

Your termination and that of all your affiliates will not affect access to care in this State because there are thousands of alternate providers in Texas, including federally qualified health centers, Medicaid-certified rural health clinics, and other health care providers across the State that participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program and Medicaid.”

  • Planned Parenthood was one of 12 entities to settle lawsuits greater than $1 million with Texas’ Civil Medicaid Fraud Division (CMF) in FY 2014.

An excerpt from the 2014 Office of Inspector General report:

CMF Report

Supporters

  • In October 2015, when the funding cuts were first announced, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said:

“The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas, and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end.

As such, ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable — the unborn.”

“Texas must be able to ensure its Medicaid providers protect the health and safety of those seeking services. Simply stated, Planned Parenthood cannot be trusted.”

Critics

  • Regarding the undercover videos from 2015, which allegedly showed Planned Parenthood executives facilitating the sale of fetal tissue for profit, Planned Parenthood said:

“A year ago, the state originally tried to block Medicaid patients’ access to care at Planned Parenthood, basing their action on false claims from anti-abortion extremists in heavily edited and thoroughly discredited videos. Planned Parenthood never has and never would sell fetal tissue for profit. In fact when this went before a grand jury in Texas, not only did they choose to clear Planned Parenthood, but instead indicted members of the Center for Medical Progress. Planned Parenthood has been already cleared by 13 state investigations and an additional eight states declined to even investigate. The state of Texas is once again recycling these false accusations.”

  • Alexa Garcia-Ditta–the communications and policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas–told The Whim in a statement:
“This is yet another example of the state playing politics with Texans’ health care. This dangerous move by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program will cut off access to family planning and preventive care for more than 10,000 Texans.
The state has excluded Planned Parenthood from state health programs for years, to the detriment of thousands of Texans. We know, based on research by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, that when Planned Parenthood is kept from participating in critical health care programs, access to birth control decreases and the number of Medicaid births increase.
At a time when state health care dollars are precious, our leaders should be working to ensure all Texans can access the reproductive health care that they want at the providers that they choose.”
  • Yvonne Gutierrez–the executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes–said in a statement:

    “This is not over, and we will leave no stone unturned to protect access to care. We have seen the devastation caused to Texans when the state blocks access to care at Planned Parenthood. Already, tens of thousands of people are going without birth control, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and other care. The maternal mortality rate continues to rise. Yet Greg Abbott is hell-bent on chasing this ideological agenda, regardless of how many women it hurts.”

The October 2015 Notice of Termination:

Notice of Termination
The Whim News Team
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The Whim News Desk

We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!

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