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Entries in Medicaid (2)

Wednesday
Jun012011

Obama Admin. Rejects Indiana’s Ban on Planned Parenthood Funding

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration Wednesday rejected Indiana’s proposal to ban the use of Medicaid funds at Planned Parenthood clinics.

In a letter to Patricia Casanova, director of the state Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, Dr. Donald Berwick, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that Indiana’s ban violated a provision of the law allowing that “beneficiaries may obtain covered services from any qualified provider that undertakes to provide such services.”

In May, GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a law banning Medicaid funds from going to "any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed."

Daniels said that “any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.”

Those who oppose abortion have long argued that even if federal funds don’t directly go to fund abortions in groups such as Planned Parenthood, allowing such clinics to receive funding for other services frees up private funds to be spent on abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana says that 96 percent of its work is preventative, with only four percent abortion-related. Four out of the 28 Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana perform abortions. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Indiana has said that 20 percent of its annual budget comes from federal funding.

Noting that “federal Medicaid funding of abortion services is not permitted under federal law except in extraordinary circumstances (such as in cases of rape or incest),” Berwick wrote that “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.”

Between January 2010 and May 31, 2011, CMS had formally denied 19 state plan amendments, though not for the same reason. An Obama administration official says that CMS did not impose penalties in any of these matters, and the state ended up complying with the CMS ruling.

Officials from the Indiana Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning could not be reached for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec162010

Health Care Battle Moves to Florida

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PENSACOLA, Fla.) -- A federal judge in Florida will begin hearing oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the new health care law and the expansion of Medicaid.

The proceedings begin just days after a Virginia judge ruled the federal government is overstepping its constitutional boundaries by requiring Americans to carry health insurance by 2014.

What sets the Florida case apart, though, is that it's brought on behalf of 20 states and is the first court challenge against Medicaid expansion.

The new law's requirement that Medicaid be expanded to cover Americans whose incomes are at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- about $14,000 in 2010 for a person living alone -- has triggered a flurry of protests from some states.

Arizona's incoming state Senate president has rejected billions in federal help.  Republican lawmakers in Texas recently threatened to eliminate Medicaid altogether because of rising costs.  And incoming Florida Gov. Rick Scott has called the health care law the "biggest job killer in the history of this country."

The 20 states that are part of the lawsuit in Florida argue that Medicaid expansion will further burden their already crumbling budgets.  But the federal government is supposed to pick up much of the tab, paying $443.5 billion -- or 95.4 percent of the total cost -- between 2014 and 2019, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.  The states would contribute $21.2 billion, Kaiser said.

Under the new law, Medicaid enrollment will climb by 15.9 million more people by 2019 than it otherwise would have, and the number of uninsured will fall by more than 11 million.

Supporters say the expansion is desperately needed because the current income threshold is dismally low.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio