Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday to attempt to block Gov. Bobby Jindal’s order to terminate his state’s Medicaid contract with the organization’s affiliates in Louisiana.
As Breitbart News reported earlier in the month, Bobby Jindal’s office said the Medicaid provider contract between the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) allows for either party to be able to cancel the contract at will with 30 days written notice of the cancellation.
“Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the State of Louisiana in regards to respecting human life,” a press release from Jindal’s office stated.
Jindal also directed DHH to investigate the activities of Planned Parenthood in his state and requested that the state’s Inspector General and the FBI assist with the investigation.
Jindal’s order to bar Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood, as well as the investigation, came on the heels of a series of shocking undercover investigative videos that show top Planned Parenthood medical directors involved arranging for the harvesting of the body parts of aborted babies for potential sale on the open market.
The lawsuit, which also names three anonymous “Jane Doe” plaintiffs, who claim to be patients of PPGC who are covered by Medicaid, refers to the videos as “heavily edited and misleading videos that opponents of Planned Parenthood have recently released.”
As The Advocate reports, Planned Parenthood estimates that if the court does not block Bobby Jindal’s order, more than 5,200 patients in its Baton Rouge and New Orleans clinics will lose access to health care on September 2, when the 30-day notification period ends. Additionally, Planned Parenthood argues, should Jindal’s order be allowed to stand, its Baton Rouge facility could close its doors since 60 percent of its operating revenue comes from Medicaid funds.
Though the Louisiana Planned Parenthood facilities reportedly do not perform abortions, DHH has concerns the abortion organization “could be acting in violation of Louisiana law that states no person or group contracting with the state or receiving government assistance shall require or recommend that any woman have an abortion,” the Washington Times reports.
Medicaid provided the Louisiana Planned Parenthood facilities with $730,000 last year for their reported services.
“When Governor Jindal and other politicians try to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding to score political points, what they’re actually doing is ensuring that some women’s cancer will get worse before it’s caught and that HIV and other infections will spread,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement.
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration threatened states attempting to stop the flow of Medicaid funding to the nation’s largest abortion provider with potential violations and, ultimately, cutting off Medicaid funding entirely to those states.
In a guidance document from Health and Human Services in 2011, the Obama administration said states are not allowed to exclude providers from Medicaid solely on the basis of the types of services they offer.
The guidance, however, also says that states can exclude providers from Medicaid funding if their engagement in certain criminal acts is proven, a provision that many believe is the case with the videos of Planned Parenthood’s top medical personnel discussing the sale of aborted baby organs and body parts.
“This really hasn’t been tried before,” said Casey Mattox, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Planned Parenthood has contracts with states that can be terminated for cause. In other situations the contracts were not terminated for cause.”
“Planned Parenthood is flailing,” said Thomas Enright, Jindal’s executive counsel. “This lawsuit is without merit and the state will aggressively defend our right to cancel the contract.
Referring to Bobby Jindal’s action as “political grandstanding,” Reagan Carter, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s external services director, said, “The illegal action taken by Gov. Jindal and DHH puts thousands of people’s health at risk.”
Four other states have terminated their Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood in the wake of the video scandal: Alabama, New Hampshire, Utah, and Arkansas.
PPGC was engulfed in another scandal in 2013, when then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced a $1.4 million settlement with the affiliate to resolve allegations of Medicaid fraud.
As SETexasRecord reported, following a whistleblower’s lawsuit against PPGC and Abbott’s follow-up inquiry into the matter, PPGC was found to have “allegedly improperly billed the Texas Medicaid program for services and products that were not rendered, not medically necessary and were not covered by the Medicaid program.”
“The alleged improper billing practices were not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement,” the Record continued. “Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast allegedly falsified material information in the medical records of patients to support fraudulent Medicaid reimbursement claims.”