Gov. Asa Hutchinson's attempt to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood likely to fail | Arkansas Blog

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's attempt to block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood likely to fail

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 1:28 PM

ASA FOUGHT THE LAW: And the law is probably going to win.
  • ASA FOUGHT THE LAW: And the law is probably going to win.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday announced that he will terminate the state's Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood. As pure political grandstanding, the move was a success: Arkansas Republicans chirped their approval of Hutchinson slapping the hated bogeyman, and both the GOP caucuses in the state House and Senate issued rah-rah press releases. Sen. Tom Cotton too

The problem is that the maneuver violates federal law. States have tried this before. It's going nowhere. 

Technically, this could end in a standoff between Arkansas (plus Louisiana and Alabama, trying similar stunts) and the federal government. If Arkansas refused to comply with the law, the federal government could end all federal Medicaid funding. That would mean the state would lose billions of federal dollars, not just for the 250,000 Arkansans on the private option, but also the elderly in nursing homes, disabled Arkansans, and children in ARKids. A few legislators have said that this nightmare scenario would be "so great" and "the best news of the year" (in fairness, these lawmakers likely have no understanding of Medicaid funding at all and didn't realize what they were saying). But realistically, this is not going to happen: even hardliners are not going to bankrupt the state's health care system — throwing Granny out of the nursing home, Junior out of ARKids, 
and disabled Arkansans off of their health insurance in the process — over $50,000 in Planned Parenthood reimbursements. If we actually got to a showdown, the states would have no choice but to cave. 

But...we're not even going to get that far, most likely. What is probably going to happen is that Planned Parenthood is going to sue, get an injunction, and win in court. 

We've been through this charade, as a good report in the National Journal today details

But if precedent holds, things need not get that far for Planned Parenthood in Louisiana and Alabama to keep receiving Medicaid money. (Friday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson directed the state Human Services Department to end its agreement with Planned Parenthood.)

States have made similar defunding attempts before, and when Planned Parenthood sued, they lost in court.

"Medicaid is by far the largest source of family-planning funds in this country, so I guess that would be one reason why you'd want to go after Medicaid, but it just seems that that hasn't worked," said Elizabeth Nash, a senior associate at the Guttmacher Institute. "Because it hasn't been successful, I don't see why anyone would think it'd be successful." ... 

...CMS has thus far avoided having to go to battle with states trying to defund Planned Parenthood. In 2011, Indiana passed a law saying the state cannot fund providers that perform abortions. The next year, Arizona passed a similar law. The state Planned Parenthood branches both challenged the decisions, and both times won in court based on the Medicaid choice of provider provision.

One underrated constituency for state lawmakers like Hutchinson trying to violate the law: lawyers.  

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation