Planned Parenthood in Federal Court to Fight Ouster From Texas Medicaid Program

AUSTIN — Planned Parenthood is in federal court this week fighting Texas' latest effort to cut off state funding for the provider: kicking them out of Medicaid. Texas delivered its final legal notice of removal to Planned Parenthood in December, a year after first announcing plans to suspend Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood treats 11,000 Texas women annually through the program and received about $4 million in Medicaid funding in 2015. Planned Parenthood will ask U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks this week to block the state's move and allow it to continue offering health services to women through Medicaid. Tuesday is the first scheduled hearing in the case. Stuart Bowen, inspector general at the Health and Human Services Commission, cited a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue in research as the motivation for cutting the provider out of Medicaid. In the December notice, he wrote that the group is "not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner." The videos were published by a group that claims Planned Parenthood profits from tissue donation reimbursements — a claim Planned Parenthood denies. Nonetheless, the videos incited an investigation into the provider by the attorney general's office and a separate investigation by HHSC into the sale of fetal remains in Texas.   Continue reading...

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