Democratic Party of Arkansas denounces Asa Hutchinson's termination of Planned Parenthood Medicaid contract | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Democratic Party of Arkansas denounces Asa Hutchinson's termination of Planned Parenthood Medicaid contract

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 3:20 PM

The Democratic Party of Arkansas's state committee unanmiously passed a resolution calling on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to restore Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, the party announced in a press release this afternoon.

Hutchinson yesterday ordered the Department of Human Services to terminate the Medicaid contract with the nonprofit, an action that appears to violate federal law. The federal Department of Health and Human Services has already informed Alabama and Louisiana, which are trying similar maneuvers, that they are non-compliant with federal regulations. 

Party Chairman Vince Insalaco tied Hutchinson's latest move with his administration's failed policies in the Medicaid verification mess: 

Governor Asa Hutchinson is playing politics with Medicaid and it is hurting Arkansas families, children, and seniors. He began by issuing an unfair deadline for redetermination of Medicaid benefits causing nearly 50,000 Arkansans to lose their health care. Now he has taken steps to cut off women’s access to affordable health care including medical screenings and regular checkups.

Some Democratic legislators were also quoted in the release: 

"The governor’s politically motivated cuts are unfair and will take a major toll on the health and wellbeing of Arkansas women and families Planned Parenthood offers medical treatment to low-income Arkansans. Arkansas families depend on the care they receive from Planned Parenthood to stay healthy and active,” said Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram.

"Our Democratic values dictate that we support Arkansas families, including Arkansas’s women. We disagree with this decision by the governor and stand for the health of thousands of women in Arkansas,” said State Representative George McGill. 

The Party's statement "condemn[ed] the irresponsible actions of Governor Asa Hutchinson. ... The Governor needs to follow the law and use better judgment before allowing his political ideology to do any more harm to the economy of our state and the health of our citizens."  

Full press release after the jump. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2015

Democratic Party of Arkansas Passes Resolution Calling on
Governor Asa Hutchinson to Restore Medicaid Funding to Planned Parenthood
(BENTONVILLE) – Today the Democratic Party of Arkansas’s State Committee passed a resolution calling on Governor Asa Hutchinson to restore Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. Party officials issued the following statements.

“Governor Asa Hutchinson is playing politics with Medicaid and it is hurting Arkansas families, children, and seniors. He began by issuing an unfair deadline for redetermination of Medicaid benefits causing nearly 50,000 Arkansans to lose their health care. Now he has taken steps to cut off women’s access to affordable health care including medical screenings and regular checkups,’ said Vince Insalaco, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

‘The governor’s politically motivated cuts are unfair and will take a major toll on the health and wellbeing of Arkansas women and families Planned Parenthood offers medical treatment to low-income Arkansans. Arkansas families depend on the care they receive from Planned Parenthood to stay healthy and active,” said Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram.

‘Our Democratic values dictate that we support Arkansas families, including Arkansas’s women. We disagree with this decision by the governor and stand for the health of thousands of women in Arkansas,” said State Representative George McGill.

# # #

Democratic Party of Arkansas’s State Committee

Resolution passed unanimously

August 15, 2015

The Democratic Party of Arkansas State Committee today condemns the irresponsible actions of Governor Asa Hutchinson and calls on him to withdraw his directive to unilaterally terminate state contracts with Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization dedicated to public health, especially women’s health, providing screening and care for breast cancer, cervical cancer, adoption services, STD tests, etc.

Planned Parenthood is already banned by state and federal law from providing abortion services with public funds. Therefore, the Governor’s actions are symbolic rather than substantive.

Furthermore, federal Medicaid law requires states to not discriminate against healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood.
The state Medicaid budget includes roughly 5.6 billion federal dollars. The Governor’s order would risk 5.6 billion dollars in order to make a political statement over 50,000 dollars – the amount impacted by the Planned Parenthood decision.

Republicans and Democrats alike approved of Governor Beebe’s management of Arkansas because he never risked the economy of Arkansas or the health of its citizens just to make radical political points.

We call on Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to put her own party loyalty aside and advise the Governor to delay taking action that exposes the state to costly litigation risks and hurts families in violation of federal law.

We call on House Speaker Jeremy Gillam and the Senate’s President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang to act as a check and balance to prevent an irresponsible political act by the Governor from risking the entire state budget.

We pray that all leaders recognize that family values include preventing teen pregnancy and saving the lives of breast cancer patients. Organizations that do such work need more funding, not the fear of being a political football for irresponsible politicians.

This decision comes on the heels of the Governor’s Medicaid redetermination mismanagement, which also violated federal law, illegally costing more than 50,000 citizens their healthcare through the Private Option.

The Governor needs to follow the law and use better judgment before allowing his political ideology to do any more harm to the economy of our state and the health of our citizens.  

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