The state of Indiana has lost a federal administrative appeal regarding its efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and stop the agency from receiving Medicaid funds.
Lawmakers voted in 2011 to deny Medicaid funding to health providers that also provided abortions, except for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. However, that law was turned down by Medicaid officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The state appealed that decision, however federal officials say Indiana’s law ran afoul of the “Free Choice of Provider” provision in federal Medicaid law.
That law states that an individual who qualifies for Medicaid may seek services from a qualified provider and the state may not deny them access to those services. The state had tried to argue that it was merely following an extension of federal law which prohibits Medicaid dollars from paying for abortions, or in this case indirectly subsidizing them. However federal officials did not buy that argument.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office released the following statement.
“Like any other petitioner who is entitled to a hearing, the State of Indiana appreciated the opportunity to try to explain to CMS the Indiana Legislature’s public policy decision that private providers ought not indirectly subsidize abortion procedures through Medicaid dollars and that the legislation had that separation in mind. My office by law must defend the laws the Legislature passes, and we have always contended this is a dispute between the state and a federal government agency, not between the state and a Medicaid provider, and ultimately should be decided in the appropriate venue,” Zoeller said.
Zoeller’s office has not said whether it will continue its appeal further. It is also reviewing whether to continue the legal challenge to uphold the law defunding Planned Parenthood in federal court. In June of last year Judge Tonya Walton Pratt an injunction was issued against Indiana’s law.