Planned Parenthood still gets Medicaid funds despite threats
Kansas hasn't cut off Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood even though Republican Gov. Sam Brownback declared two months ago that his administration would quickly end the funding, one of the organization's top officials said Wednesday.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri President Laura McQuade told The Associated Press that her organization is still providing services to Medicaid participants -- and getting state reimbursements -- at five clinics in Kansas and the Kansas City, Missouri, area. She said her group expected to have been notified by now by state health officials that it was no longer considered a Medicaid provider.
"Whether or not it's legal, whether or not it's rational, whether or not it's constitutional, those aren't the guiding principles," she said. As for a two-month delay, she said: "That's not how it's played out in other states."
Brownback's spokeswoman said she was looking into the situation Wednesday. Attempts in Arizona and Indiana to cut off Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood in 2011 and 2012 were blocked by federal courts. Planned Parenthood's national organization said that since August, seven other states have moved against its Medicaid funding.
Brownback, a vocal anti-abortion conservative, declared in his annual State of the State speech in early January that he was acting to ensure "not a single dollar of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood" through Medicaid. The next day, he sent a letter to Susan Mosier, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, directing her to terminate any provider affiliated with Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid participant.
A health department spokeswoman did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment Wednesday.
The organization provides services to Kansas Medicaid participants at clinics in Wichita and Overland Park and three others in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. The Overland Park clinic performs abortions, but McQuade said the Medicaid funds cover services such as health exams, family planning services and breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment.
Since taking office in 2011, the governor has repeatedly signed annual budgets with a provision blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for providing non-abortion, family planning services under another federal program, costing it about $370,000 a year. Yet Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid Missouri continued to receive Medicaid reimbursements, about $61,000 in the fiscal year ending in June 2015, according to the organization.
Abortion opponents have touted their efforts to "defund" Planned Parenthood in Kansas, and in a Feb. 20 speech to a Republican breakfast hosted by the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life, Brownback said, "We'll finish the job this year."
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