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CMS Rejects Appeal of Indiana's Request To Block Planned Parenthood From Medicaid

CMS Rejects Appeal of Indiana's Request To Block Planned Parenthood From Medicaid

June 3, 2013 — CMS on Friday denied Indiana's appeal of a 2012 administrative ruling prohibiting the state from withholding Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and other abortion providers, the AP/Huffington Post reports.

The decision came just days after the Supreme Court last week refused to consider the state's appeal of a lower court's injunction against the same law.

The state had argued in both its administrative and legal appeals that Medicaid funds used by groups such as Planned Parenthood to provide general health services would indirectly subsidize abortions, even though federal law prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion.

According to the AP/Huffington Post, both decisions effectively nullify the state law (AP/Huffington Post, 5/31).

Background of CMS Request

CMS in June 2011 informed the state that the law was unacceptable. The state appealed, but CMS hearing officer Benjamin Cohen in July 2012 urged the agency to uphold its initial decision.

Cohen explained that the law violates the federal requirement that Medicaid beneficiaries be permitted to obtain care from any qualified provider, regardless of whether the state approves non-covered care (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/9/12).

Attorney General's Response

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (R) on Friday in a news release said the state is "monitoring other challenges to similar laws in other states that are working their way through other federal circuit appeals courts."

Zoeller added that the state is seeking an opportunity "to assert our legal position through amicus briefs to the Supreme Court that Medicaid dollars should not indirectly subsidize the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers" (Indianapolis Star, 5/31).