Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced on July 24 that his office had obtained a $1.4 million settlement against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for Medicaid fraud, with the settlement to be split between the state of Texas, the federal government, and the whistleblower (former PPGC employee Karen Reynolds).
It turns out the AG was apparently only announcing his state’s cut. The total settlement is actually $4.3 million – almost $3 million more than previously known. From the Houston Chronicle today:
Planned Parenthood’s Houston-based affiliate clarified Tuesday that it settled for $4.3 million, three times the $1.4 million that Abbott reported a week ago.
His spokesman tried to explain the discrepancy, indicating Abbott intended to announce the smaller amount, which represents the “state’s designation.” But it’s unclear why Abbott wouldn’t have announced the whole amount.
The attorney general also jumped the gun with his press release, announcing the settlement before it had been finalized. (It has since been signed by all parties.)
When I called the AG’s press office to help me understand the discrepancy I was greeted by a inexplicably rude man who wouldn’t even give me his name. His response before hanging up, “It means the investigation is not over.” Ok. Still don’t understand, but there you go.
Despite the confusion this would all seem to be good news, although the original charge was that PPGC “submitted more than $30 million in fraudulent bills between 2003 and 2009,” according to the Houston Chronicle, July 30.
“If the original claim that PP defrauded the taxpayer of $30 million is near accurate, it means that PP settled for 15 cents on the dollar,” wrote American Life League’s Jim Sedlak to me in an email. “No incentive there to stop committing Medicaid fraud.”
Abby Johnson’s lawsuit against the same Planned Parenthood affiliate is still not settled. Abby alleges PPGC committed “over $5.7 million in fraud,” according to her legal representation, Alliance Defending Freedom.
[HT: Jim Sedlak; graphic via ADF]