Thursday, July 19, 2012

Planned Parenthood Arizona Files Injunction to Stop State Crazy Train

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Planned Parenthood Arizona filed an injunction in federal court Tuesday to block a new state law that would stop any federal dollars that pass through the state from going to Planned Parenthood, even for health-care services such as cancer screenings, STD treatment or other women's health services.

During a phone press conference yesterday, Bryan Howard, Planned Parenthood Arizona president and CEO, was joined by Roger Evans, senior director of public policy, litigation and law at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Howard said that HB 2800 will, if it takes effect, disqualify Planned Parenthood from being an AHCCCS provider because the organization provides safe and legal abortions.

"This litigation is about more than the nearly 3,000 currently receiving care at our health centers," Howard said during the press conference. "It is wrong for the state to tell any Arizonan who they can and can not go to for health care. We are confident the federal court will agree and grant and injunction. Unfortunately our governor and state lawmakers continue to put ideology first."

The press release is below the cut.

The litigation is based on a federal statute that protects Medicaid beneficiaries’ freedom to choose the qualified medical provider of their own choosing. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have stated repeatedly that states cannot limit a Medicaid beneficiary’s ability to choose a family planning provider based on the scope of services provided. A law virtually identical to HB 2800 has been enjoined by a federal court in Indiana, and similar efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have been blocked by federal courts in Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Howard told reporters that Planned Parenthood Arizona see more than 66,000 patient every year. Almost 3,000 of those are Medicaid patients. Three of these patients are also plaintiffs supporting the case. Additional information provided shows that last year, Planned Parenthood Arizona also provided more than 9,400 pap tests, more than 16,200 tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, more than 33,700 breast exams, 136 HPV immunizations, and more than 85,400 contraceptives.

A recent poll Planned Parenthood commissioned in the state showed that 68 percent of Arizonans had a positive impression of Planned Parenthood and 78 percent support public funding for health care and family planning needs to go to organizations like Planned Parenthood.

"I could say government and extremist leaders of the state House and Senate are treading on very serious ground when they try to take away public access to family planning care," Howard said.

Howard also said that last funding cycle, Planned Parenthood Arizona received $350,000 in reimbursement for the care of 2,994 women. But that number does come close to covering the actual cost.

Here are some additional fact released by Planned Parenthood Tuesday:

Fact Sheet - HB 2800: Disqualifying specific family planning providers from AHCCCS

Bill Overview
Forbids the state and its political subdivisions from entering into contracts with any person who performs abortions except in narrowly defined circumstances or maintains or operates a facility where the disqualifying abortions are performed.

The Bill was passed by the Senate on April 24, 2012. It was signed into law by Governor Brewer on May 4, 2012. The law goes into effect on August 2, 2012.
Other provisions:

Sets a priority for how public monies for family planning services in the state will be made — health care facilities owned or operated by the state, hospitals and federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, health care providers with the primary practice of primary health services.

Authorizes the attorney general or county attorney to bring action in law to enforce the provisions.

State Implementation

AHCCCS, the agency that manages Medicaid, released its rules for HB 2800 on June 25, 2012.
The agency states that it is “prohibited from contracting with providers who perform certain types of abortion.”

All providers are required to complete and return an attestation form, stating that the provider or facility will only perform abortions where the woman’s pregnancy threatens her life, the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or in certain circumstances, but only for women on Medicaid, where the pregnancy could pose serious threat to the woman’s health.

Litigation
Planned Parenthood Arizona is filing litigation in federal court to keep the law from going into effect.

This law disqualifies Medicaid providers from providing non-abortion health care services to women and men because of their scope of practice.

The basis for the lawsuit is a federal statute that protects Medicaid beneficiaries’ freedom to choose the qualified medical provider of their own choosing. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have made it clear in the last year that states cannot limit a Medicaid beneficiary’s ability to choose a family planning provider based on its scope of services.

We are also looking to precedent. A law virtually identical to HB 2800 was enjoined by a federal court. And, other laws aimed at “defunding Planned Parenthood” have also been enjoined by federal courts in Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Planned Parenthood Arizona provides nearly 3,000 AHCCCS patients with services throughout the state.

A July 17, 2011 Gallup poll found that 57% of voters oppose a law prohibiting health clinics that provide abortion services from receiving federal funds.

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