Federal health officials have warned Louisiana and Alabama that ending Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood may violate a federal law that requires that Medicaid beneficiaries get covered services from any qualified provider. “By restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care such as cancer screenings,” said Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Melissa Flournoy, Louisiana state director for Planned Parenthood, says the decision to defund will lessen coverage for more than 4,300 Medicaid patients who rely on the organization. A spokesman for the Louisiana health department says that the defunding is legal, since other Medicaid providers can supply the same services as Planned Parenthood. If Louisiana or Alabama is found in violation of federal law, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could choose to withhold Medicaid funds to the state. As of now, neither Louisiana nor Alabama have shown any sign of changing policy in response to the warnings.
Read the full story at The Guardian.