Pro-life activists and legislators have tried for years to “defund” Planned Parenthood through the elimination of the Nixon-era federal program known as Title X Family Planning Program that receives upwards of $300 million from taxpayers each year. A budget proposal released by House Republicans in mid-June proposes just that.
But, a March report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office shows the overwhelming amount of government funds for Planned Parenthood comes not from Title X but from Medicaid, which would be untouched by the budget proposal.
According to Planned Parenthood’s annual report, in fiscal year 2011-2012, the group received $542 million in federal money. According to the GAO report, $400 million of that was from Medicaid. While a $142 million budget reduction from the elimination of Title X would hurt, the abortion giant would be left with an enormous pile of taxpayer money.
Title X money goes to states to pay for “family planning services” for low-income families and individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid, which is essentially an insurance reimbursement program. Title X provides grants to a network of roughly 4,500 clinics around the country. The two programs were set up to serve different audiences. However, the wall between them has been increasingly porous.
According to a 2007 report from the Guttmacher Institute, which began as a division of Planned Parenthood, “Once a rarity, state initiatives to expand eligibility for family planning services under their Medicaid programs are now increasingly commonplace.” At that time, half of all states received permission from the federal government to waive “normal eligibility rules…”
Given that the government must trust the facilities that submit requests for reimbursement for services, the system is ripe for abuse. Planned Parenthood has a fairly bad track record in this area.
In 2013 the Texas Attorney General found Planned Parenthood had “fraudulently” overbilled the state and fined the organization $1.4 million.
In 2003, a state audit in California found several Planned Parenthood offices overbilling Medicaid to the tune of $5.2 million.
A 2008 federal audit showed that the State of New York overbilled the federal government by $17 million for attempting reimbursements for procedures not covered. The report implicated several Planned Parenthood offices.
Similar stories have unfolded in Washington State, New Jersey and New York City.
Lawsuits and investigations are ongoing around the country, some brought by Planned Parenthood whistleblowers who say overcharging Medicaid has been standard operating procedure in some Planned Parenthood offices.
Jim Sedlak, who runs the Stop Planned Parenthood program at American Life League, told Breitbart News, “Any effort to cut Planned Parenthood money must include changes to the Medicaid program and, especially, Medicaid family planning waivers.”
In short, unless it includes Medicaid reform, any talk about defunding Planned Parenthood should not lull pro-life advocates into thinking Planned Parenthood is being truly defunded.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse