Planned Parenthood affiliates challenge Missouri Medicaid cutoff

KCUR reports that Planned Parenthood’s affiliates appealed Missouri’s cutoff of their fiscal 2020 funding last week in Jackson County, Mo., after an administrative law judge ruled against them last month. Meanwhile, an appeal of the cutoff of 2019 funding is pending before the Missouri Supreme Court.

“It’s kind of a continuation of the same old song and dance,” said Charles Hatfield, Planned Parenthood’s attorney.

Republican lawmakers in Missouri have for years sought to stop any taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood, even clinics that do not provide abortions.

Planned Parenthood has 12 clinics in Missouri, but only one of them – at 4251 Forest Park Ave. in St. Louis – performs abortions. That  clinic is battling with state regulators over its license. No ruling on the license is expected before late February.

Legislators struggled with loopholes that allowed Planned Parenthood clinics that provide other health care to continue receiving funding. Abortion opponents finally succeeded by blocking money to any facility affiliated with others that perform abortions.

Lawmakers were able to stop money from going to Planned Parenthood by forgoing some federal funding to avoid requirements that the clinics be reimbursed if low-income patients go there for birth control, cancer screenings and other preventative care. Missouri instead now uses state money to pay for those services.

Planned Parenthood argues that its chapters provide preventative health care and that those that do not perform abortions shouldn’t be financially penalized.

In all, the state has withheld roughly $1 million from Planned Parenthood over the past two fiscal years.

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