HHS Says Indiana Cannot Cut Medicaid Payments To Planned Parenthood

Officials say that federal law requires enrollees in Medicaid to be able to seek services from any qualified provider.

The New York Times: US Says New Indiana Law Improperly Limits Medicaid
The Obama administration prohibited the State of Indiana on Wednesday from carrying out a new state law that cuts off money for Planned Parenthood clinics providing health care to low-income women on Medicaid. The state law penalized Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics also perform abortions (Pear, 6/1).

The Associated Press: HHS Rejects Indiana Medicaid Changes
The Health and Human Services Department rejected changes in Indiana's Medicaid plan Wednesday, saying it illegally bans funding for Planned Parenthood, and sought to make clear that a similar fate awaits other states that pass legislation barring any qualified health care provider (Jackson, 6/1).

Politico: CMS Administrator Don Berwick: Indiana Can't Defund Planned Parenthood
Indiana plans to defy an Obama administration letter and continue barring Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding — a move that, if continued, could cost the state more than $4 billion in Medicaid funds. CMS Administrator Don Berwick notified Indiana Wednesday that its plan to bar the state Medicaid agency from contracting with abortion providers is illegal. If it does so, Indiana could stand to lose all federal funding of its Medicaid program, an administration source tells Politico (Kliff, 6/2).

National Journal: CMS Denies Indiana Law Restricting Funding To Clinics Offering Abortions
The federal government told Indiana on Wednesday that it cannot endorse a state law attempting to keep Medicaid dollars away from clinics that perform abortions. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick denied a request to approve a state amendment that would prohibit Medicaid funds from reaching hospitals and clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, that offer abortion services (McCarthy, 6/1).

Fox News: Obama Administration Calls Indiana's Ban Of Planned Parenthood Illegal
The Obama administration has declared Indiana's new law that withholds some public funding for Planned Parenthood of Indiana illegal and is warning other states that some of their Medicaid funding will be in jeopardy too if they pass legislation barring any qualified health care provider. In a letter sent to Indiana's Medicaid director, Medicaid Administrator Donald M. Berwick said Indiana's plan will improperly bar beneficiaries from receiving services. Federal law requires Medicaid beneficiaries to be able to obtain services from any qualified provider (6/1).

In the background, NPR offers a pair of reports detailing how the politics of abortion has changed in the days since the Republican victories in last year's congressional and state elections as well as where public opinion on the issue currently stands.

NPR's Shots blog: As Abortion Debate Resurfaces, Americans Remain 'Remarkably Split'
We wanted to gauge the national mood on abortion as the legislative action started to heat up. So in the first half of March, we worked with Thomson Reuters on a poll about Americans' attitudes toward abortion, including its legality and whether insurers should pay for the procedure. Fifty-two percent of respondents said abortion should remain legal in all or most cases. That leaves almost as many people — 48 percent — who said abortion should be against the law in all or most cases. When asked about insurance coverage for abortion, about 53 percent of people said private insurance should pay some or all of the costs associated with the procedure (Hensley, 6/1).

NPR: Abortion Foes Push To Redefine Personhood
Last year's GOP takeover of the U.S. House and statehouses across the country has dramatically changed the shape of the nation's abortion debate. It has also given a boost to an even more far-reaching effort: the push to legally redefine when life itself begins. The question being raised in legal terms is: When does someone become a person? (Rovner, 6/1).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.