Planned Parenthood no longer provides abortions in Texas, Louisiana and the other 10in June 2022.
But the nonprofit is still providing other services for patients in those places, including cancer screening, contraception and the treatment of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Andon its long-running quest to force the group, which in its nearly 600 U.S. clinics, to stop operating within its borders.
Alongside an anonymous whistleblower identified as “Alex Doe,”in penalties and fees over what they allege are fraudulent Medicaid reimbursements.
having committed Medicaid fraud. It calls the lawsuit “ .”
As an economist who, I believe that if Texas prevails in this federal lawsuit, Texans will have even less access to sexual and reproductive health care. Notably, in access to high-quality prenatal and maternal health care in 2022, and maternal mortality rates in the state more than . The elimination of Planned Parenthood facilities across Texas will likely exacerbate the dismal conditions of reproductive care in the state.
Blocking Medicaid funds
Medicaid, a government program that helps low-income people get health care,annually. The federal and state governments split its costs.
In 2016, Texasproviders, blocking Planned Parenthood clinics across the state from receiving any federal or state dollars to pay for expenses covered by Medicaid. Lower courts .
But in 2020, thethat the state may exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursement. Since then, Planned Parenthood has continued to operate in Texas, but the availability of health services to the nearly in the state has been put at risk.
New legal salvo
Texas now alleges that Planned Parenthood defrauded the state by billing expenses through Medicaid between 2016 and 2020 while its litigation was pending. The group counters that it legitimately billed Medicaid while the law was blocked by pending legal challenges.
Although Texas doesn’t dispute that the nonprofit provided the health care services for which it billed the state, and which the state paid for, Texas seeks the repayment of.
The potential liability is far larger because it also includes interest, legal fees and civil penalties adding up to more than $1.8 billion. Planned Parenthood says, if the state wins, would significantly limit its ability to continue to operate in Texas.
This litigation originated in 2021, when the anonymous whistleblower brought a case against Planned Parenthood under the, which allows an individual to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government.
Theunder the direction of Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2022. The case was filed in Amarillo, an area without a Planned Parenthood facility – a jurisdiction that might seem an unlikely choice. There’s one good explanation, however: All cases filed there are heard by .
The Trump-appointed judge made headlines in early 2023 when he. Kascmaryk’s anti-abortion history on the bench makes him a strategic choice to rule on the case against Planned Parenthood.
Reduced health care access
Texas has been curtailing public funding to Planned Parenthood clinics since at least 2011, when the state cut its family planning budget from.
Following those cuts,or stopped providing family planning services, about one-third of which were Planned Parenthood affiliates. Many that remained open under the financial strain.
Texas’ publicly funded family planning clinics. Then, in 2013, Texas stopped letting abortion providers and affiliates get any funding through the Texas Women’s Health Program – a decision that caused the federal government to remove all financial support to it.
In response, Texas restructured the program under a new name: “,” entirely funded through the state.
Having lost those funds,by 2017.
Trial slated for April 2024
This case, which, targets the three remaining Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates that operate roughly 35 clinics – .
By late 2023,on their books restricting state funds for family planning. Most of these laws target abortion providers, but in only six states does this restriction apply to clinics affiliated with those organizations.
Currently, only Texas prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving any Medicaid funds. Louisiana had an opportunity to join the lawsuit in Texas but instead, which allowed the organization to continue to receive Medicaid funds in the state.
But legislation in Texas often spurs copycat bills elsewhere. A 2022 Texas restriction on abortion procedures after six weeks of gestation was, and .
It’s reasonable to expect that other states may pass similar restrictions on Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. Already,.
IUDs and cancer screening
Planned Parenthood clinic closures and the reimbursement restrictions it faces are reducing the availability of reproductive health services, particularly for low-income people.
After the change in the Healthy Texas Women program, the provision of Medicaid-funded, long-acting reversible contraceptives – a category that includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants – fell by 35%, and.
In 2015, Texas prohibited Planned Parenthood from receivingand terminated a contract with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to .
If the court rules against Planned Parenthood, and the ruling stands after the appeals process that would certainly follow such a decision, access to sexual and reproductive health services in Texas will decline further.
While the lawsuit could bankrupt Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state, driving the organization out at last, it does not appear likely that the national organization would have to foot this massive legal bill and face jeopardy on a larger scale.
And I have no doubt that Texas’ remaining reproductive health care clinics would surely experience an overwhelming demand for their services while trying to fill the gaps left behind.