An Indiana law that bars clinics that provide abortions from receiving federal Medicaid funding is illegal, a federal official said today.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick refused to approve an amendment that would have cut off the funding, writing in a letter to Indiana's Medicaid director that qualified providers are eligible for funding regardless of the services they dispense.
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. We assume this decision is not unexpected.
The Indiana amendment was part of a broader push by both states and Congressional republicans to restrict abortion access. Measures have ranged from blocking funding to providers, to a South Dakota law mandating an extended waiting period and counseling at a pregnancy center, to restrictions on training doctors to provide abortions.
Planned Parenthood has argued that they provide services other than abortions, including contraception and cancer screenings, that a loss of funding would jeopardize.
Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) claimed during a Senate debate that abortions constitute 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's service. He later clarified, saying his remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions.
In fact, three percent of Planned Parenthood's services are related to abortions.