UPDATE: Appeal notice filed on ruling on state defunding of Planned Parenthood | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 5, 2015

UPDATE: Appeal notice filed on ruling on state defunding of Planned Parenthood

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 6:33 PM

The state has filed notice of appeal of federal Judge Kristine Baker's issuance of a preliminary injunction Friday in the case over Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order that the state stop providing Medicaid reimbursement for Planned Parenthood medical services.

Baker said federal law prohibited the state from interfering with the three Jane Doe plaintiffs' choice of medical providers, but she didn't extend the injunction beyond the three plaintiffs to all Medicaid-qualified patients seen at Planned Parenthood clinics in Little Rock and Fayetteville.

Hutchinson ordered the defunding because of the dishonestly obtained and misleadingly edited videos by an anti-abortion group relative to donation of fetal tissues to medical research. Judge Baker noted that no substantiation of the allegations had been found in reviews in other states and that none of the activities was  occurring in Arkansas. Hutchinson nonetheless said the affiliate relationship was sufficient to end support of Planned Parenthood, which got about $50,000 in Medicaid reimbursements from the state in the last fiscal year.

After  Friday's ruling, the governor said the state would proceed with barring any other recipients from getting the health screenings, contraception and other medical services provided by Planned Parenthood. It is appealing Medicaid coverage ordered for the three plaintiffs.

Planned Parenthood is expected to ask the judge expand her order to cover all Medicaid recipients, but nothing has been filed so far this morning. I was told to expect a filing late in the day.

UPDATE Late today, Planned Parenthood filed a motion asking that the case be treated as a class action on behalf of all Medicaid patients of the organization. The motion said the plaintiffs easy satisfy the requirement for class certification and that joining all covered people would be impracticable. 

Because Plaintiffs’ claims turn on a single question that uniformly applies to all class members, final injunctive and declaratory relief is appropriate for the class as a whole

Planned Parenthood also asked for an expedited decision.

 Plaintiffs seek an expedited response because in the coming weeks, PPH has scheduled for services numerous Medicaid recipients. Expeditious resolution of whether these patients are entitled to receive Medicaid services at PPH is needed to protect both their and PPH’s interests.

If it prevails, it could protect continued Medicaid reimbursement for all patients while the state pursues an appeal.

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