Thursday, August 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune (August 16, 2017): Federal court: Arkansas can block Planned Parenthood money, by Andrew DeMillo:
On Wednesday, the 8th Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction prohibiting Arkansas from suspending Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood. The district court initially enjoined Arkansas from suspending Medicaid payments under a Medicaid provision that provides a right to Medicaid recipients to choose any qualified provider. Four other circuits reached the same conclusion as the district court and prohibited states from disqualifying Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid payments.
However, in a 2 to 1 decision, the Eighth Circuit held that the "choice of provider" provision does not create a cause of action for individual plaintiffs (here the Medicaid recipients who received services from Planned Parenthood). Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson claimed that the state ended Planned Parenthood's contract because of videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue sales, which have been deemed false by multiple investigations. The decision does not reach the question of whether the videos constitute an appropriate grounds to terminate Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has indicated that it is "evaluating all options to ensure our patients receive uninterrupted care."