A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that the state of Kansas can’t prevent Planned Parenthood from getting paid for providing services to those on Medicaid. Imagine that, you can’t stop using them to provide pap smears and cancer tests just because you don’t like something else they do, which is entirely legal.
This is just the latest in a long string of such rulings in many states that have tried this. Federal courts have ruled the same thing when Congress tried it at the national level. Under Kansas law, a Medicaid recipient can choose any qualified provider that accepts Medicare for any medical procedure, but the right-wing legislature and governor didn’t like that some of those chose Planned Parenthood because they also do abortions, but abortions are not covered under their Medicaid system. The ruling says:
Kansas acted improperly when it tried to cut off Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood under former Gov. Sam Brownback, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Brownback, who has now taken a position in President Donald Trump’s administration, sought to block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding for breast exams, birth control and other services in 2016.
Brownback’s objection to sending Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood stemmed from the fact that the organization also provides abortion services, but those procedures are not paid for with Medicaid dollars. A federal district judge blocked Kansas from cutting off payments to the women’s health care provider in 2016.
States have broad authority to ensure that Medicaid healthcare providers are qualified to provide medical services—meaning that they are competent to provide medical services and do so ethically. But this power has limits. States may not terminate providers from their Medicaid program for any reason they see fit, especially when that reason is unrelated to the provider’s competence and the quality of the healthcare it provides. We join four of five of our sister circuits that have addressed this same provision and affirm the district court’s injunction prohibiting Kansas from terminating its Medicaid contract with PPGP.
I’ll be curious to see if the Supreme Court takes up one of these cases since there is technically a circuit split. So far they have not.