Planned Par­ent­hood funds cut

Texas gives 30 days’ no­tice on Med­i­caid dol­lars

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

Texas of­fi­cials are mov­ing to strip mil­lions of Med­i­caid dol­lars from Planned Par­ent­hood in the wake of al­le­ga­tions that the na­tion’s largest abor­tion provider im­per­mis­si­bly traf­fics in fe­tal body parts from abor­tions.

Stuart Bowen, the in­spec­tor gen­eral for the Texas Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Com­mis­sion, sent a fi­nal no­tice to Planned Par­ent­hood on Tues­day in­form­ing the group that its Med­i­caid fund­ing will be cut off in 30 days, more than a year after the gov­er­nor ini­ti­ated the process to get Planned Par­ent­hood off of the tax­payer dole.

Cit­ing an un­der­cover video investigation show­ing top Planned Par­ent­hood of­fi­cials dis­cussing the trade of fe­tal tis­sue and or­gans, Mr. Bowen said Planned Par­ent­hood is un­fit to serve the peo­ple of Texas.

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

At stake is ap­prox­i­mately $4 mil­lion in an­nual Med­i­caid fund­ing. The let­ter said Planned Par­ent­hood can ap­peal the de­ci­sion by re­quest­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive hear­ing within 15 days.

Ken Lam­brecht, CEO of Planned Par­ent­hood of Greater Texas, said the abor­tion provider will con­tinue to serve low-in­come pa­tients.

“In the days ahead we will take ev­ery step nec­es­sary to en­sure pa­tients can con­tinue to count on Planned Par­ent­hood for qual­ity, ac­ces­si­ble health care,” Mr. Lam­brecht said in a state­ment. “In the mean­time, our doors re­main open for ev­ery­one, re­gard­less of their in­come or in­sur­ance sta­tus, no mat­ter what.”

Fed­eral judges have blocked states’ at­tempts to di­vest Med­i­caid dol­lars from the abor­tion provider. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion this year warned all 50 states that deny­ing Med­i­caid fund­ing to Planned Par­ent­hood vi­o­lates fed­eral law.

Texas has been try­ing to de­fund Planned Par­ent­hood for more than a year.

Gov. Greg Ab­bott, a Repub­li­can, in­structed state health care of­fi­cials in Oc­to­ber 2015 to cut off Med­i­caid fund­ing for Planned Par­ent­hood’s Texas af­fil­i­ates. Texas of­fi­cials warned at the time that a “fi­nal no­tice of ter­mi­na­tion” was im­pend­ing.

Planned Par­ent­hood re­sponded with a law­suit seek­ing an in­junc­tion against the forth­com­ing or­der. The abor­tion provider up­dated its com­plaint against the state on Tues­day night.

Ce­cile Richards, pres­i­dent of the Planned Par­ent­hood Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ica, said de­fund­ing the abor­tion gi­ant will re­sult in a health care cri­sis of epic pro­por­tions.

“If the na­tion fol­lows Texas’ lead to de­fund [Planned Par­ent­hood], it will be noth­ing less than a na­tional health care dis­as­ter,” Ms. Richards said in a tweet on Wed­nes­day.

But Abby John­son, a for­mer Planned Par­ent­hood em­ployee turned pro-life ac­tivist, said Planned Par­ent­hood’s foot­print in Texas is min­i­mal when it comes to pro­vid­ing health care ser­vices.

“There are fewer than 100 Planned Par­ent­hood providers across the state of Texas, show­ing that Planned Par­ent­hood is not an in­te­gral part of women’s health care in our state,” Ms. John­son said in a state­ment.

She said there are plenty of women’s health care cen­ters in Texas that do not per­form abor­tions and re­ceive low-in­come pa­tients.

“For sev­eral years, Texas law­mak­ers have been work­ing to im­ple­ment a pro­gram to pro­vide for the needs of women in our state,” Ms. John­son said. “Healthy Texas Woman has ap­prox­i­mately 5,000 providers who are avail­able to treat Med­i­caid pa­tients.”

Ear­lier this month, the House Se­lect In­ves­tiga­tive Panel on In­fant Lives re­ferred a Planned Par­ent­hood af­fil­i­ate in Texas to the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral for po­ten­tial crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.

“If the na­tion fol­lows Texas’ lead to de­fund [Planned Par­ent­hood], it will be noth­ing less than a na­tional health care dis­as­ter.”

— Ce­cile Richards, pres­i­dent of the Planned Par­ent­hood Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ica

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