Texas finalizes decision to terminate Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood

Last year, Texas officials moved to cut Planned Parenthood from Medicaid programs entirely.   The official termination has been delayed for more than a year.  Today, Planned Parenthood affiliates received the final notice that Medicaid contracts would be officially terminated in 30 days, unless Planned Parenthood appeals the decision.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the notice from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) stated that Planned Parenthood was “not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner.”  Tuesday’s final notice from Inspector General Stuart Bowen, Jr., cites the ongoing investigation of Planned Parenthood for the sale of body parts from aborted babies.  The allegations surfaced with the release of undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress showing executives at Houston’s Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast discussing in graphic detail altering abortion procedures in order to harvest baby body parts and concealing the profits.  Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of Planned Parenthood’s political organization in Texas, told the Tribune that Planned Parenthood “will seek a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit filed in November 2015,” after the state’s initial notice.

According to the Texas Tribune, Planned Parenthood still receives $3.1 million in funding through Medicaid contracts.  Texas Right to Life has independently confirmed that Planned Parenthood does receive taxpayer funding through other sources in the state budget and will seek to finalize the state’s defunding of Planned Parenthood in the upcoming Texas legislative session that begins in January.

Inspector General Bowen’s condemnation of Planned Parenthood affiliates has not changed since the initial notice sent last year.  The October 2015 notice stated:  “Earlier this year, you committed and condoned numerous acts of misconduct captured on video that reveal repeated program violations and breach the minimum standards of care required of a Medicaid enrollee.”  While the accusations remain the same, the investigations, both in Texas and at the federal level, have progressed.

In February, a Freedom of Information Act request yielded incriminating documentation of Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal body parts to a Texas medical school.  Earlier this month the Congressional Select Panel on Infant Lives recommended prosecution for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and the Senate Judiciary Committee referred several Planned Parenthood affiliates to the FBI for further investigation.

Moreover, while pundits focus on Inspector General Bowen’s emphasis on the illegal trafficking of baby body parts, Bowen also refers to Planned Parenthood’s numerous abuses of Texas taxpayers through Medicaid fraud.  Affiliates across the state have committed Medicaid fraud to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.  In one case, the group only had to furnish fifteen cents for every dollar they stole from taxpayers.  Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates were caught billing Medicaid for services that were never provided and were not indicated (for example, a Texas Planned Parenthood affiliate invoiced taxpayers for birth control in the name of women who had already been sterilized).

As the state has underscored, Planned Parenthood affiliates rendered themselves ineligible for participation in the program by committing illegal acts which violated the terms of their contract with the program.  These acts effectively remove Planned Parenthood from eligible providers from whom Texas Medicaid recipients may choose.  Texas did not – as anti-Life advocates insinuate – decide that Planned Parenthood should be ejected from the program in the absence of their documented abuse of the system.

Texas Right to Life applauds the diligent work of Texas officials to finalize Planned Parenthood’s removal of all Medicaid funding and will continue the fight in Austin to stop ALL taxpayer funding of the organization.  Texas leaders recognize that Pro-Life Texans do not want their fungible tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the nation.  Redirecting funding to federally qualified health centers, community health clinics, and other non-Planned Parenthood clinics has led to an increased number of healthcare options for women across the state.