No surprise, the Obama administration will attempt to block Indiana from enacting a new law that defunds Planned Parenthood. From the Associated Press:

The Health and Human Services Department rejected changes in INs Medicaid plan Wednesday, saying it illegally bans funding for Planned Parenthood, and sought to make clear that a similar fate awaits other states that pass legislation barring any qualified health care provider.

State officials signaled they would not accept HHS’ decision.

In a letter sent to IN’s Medicaid director, Medicaid Administrator Donald Berwick said IN’s plan will improperly bar beneficiaries from receiving services. Federal law requires Medicaid beneficiaries to be able to obtain services from any qualified provider.

“Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers from providing services that are funded under the program because of a provider’s scope of practice,” Berwick wrote in a letter…. “Such a restriction would have a particular effect on beneficiaries’ ability to access family planning providers.”

IN’s law bars Planned Parenthood offices in the state from receiving federal money because it provides abortions, among other services.

Quoting Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards from USA Today:

“The new law in IN prohibits nearly 10,000 women from accessing preventive health care, such as contraception, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment, from Planned Parenthood health centers,” Richards said.

True that – and yeah – but it doesn’t block those women from accessing care at a wider array of healthcare facilities, as the Obama administration knows full well. As I’ve mentioned before, there are only 28 PPs in IN but hundreds (specifically, 800) of other qualified Medicaid providers in the state such as doctors offices, Federally Qualified Health Clinics, county health departments, and immediate care clinics. These offices actually provide better and more convenient healthcare to women because their services aren’t limited to gynecological care.

A May 27 letter to DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, which was signed by both of IN’s US senators and 6 congressmen (including Mike Pence), made the state’s case:

… [T]he Medicaid Act declares that “[i]n addition to any other authority, a state may exclude any individual or entity [from participation in the state’s Medicaid program] for any reason for which the Secretary could exclude the individual or entity from participation in [Medicare].” We believe that the Hyde Amendment provides a sufficient and time-honored foundation for such an exclusion.

Will IN stand strong? Will the Obama administration then withhold Medicaid funds, jeopardizing the healthcare of all of IN’s poor, including the women it claims to be defending, and children? I expect it will, all to protect abortion and Planned Parenthood.

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