October 7, 2015

CONTACT: Mike Rudin
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
[email protected]

Fact Check (1 of 4): Reasons Florida Gov. Rick Scott Refuses to Defund Planned Parenthood 

 Claim Defunding PP’s Medicaid Contract Would Violate Federal Law

TALLAHASSEE, FL Today, the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), led by President and General Counsel John Stemberger, released the first in a series of debunked claims made by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) regarding his reasons for not cutting Florida taxpayers’ dollars to Planned Parenthood.

It would violate Federal Law if Governor Scott terminated Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract.
“In a rare moment of agreement, Scott and Planned Parenthood questioned the governor’s authority to do that. ‘If the state were to take action to exclude Florida Planned Parenthood affiliates from Medicaid this would be in clear violation of federal law,’ Planned Parenthood Spokesperson Goodhue wrote. ‘Only around $45,000 in state match goes through the federal Medicaid program to Planned Parenthood offices in our state, and that is guided through the federal Medicaid formula in compliance with federal law,’ Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz wrote in an email.”
-Margie Menzel, Oct 1, 2015 CBS / News Service of Florida

States not only have the obligation, but the legal right to terminate the Medicaid contracts of those healthcare providers who are no longer deemed qualified.  In fact, the powers of a state Medicaid program to exclude a provider are broader than those of the federal government. A state Medicaid program may exclude a health care provider from participation “for any reason for which the Secretary could exclude the [provider] from participation” (i.e., the grounds for discretionary exclusion enumerated above) “[i]n addition to any other authority.”  42 U.S.C. § 1396a(p)(1) (emphasis added).

Moreover, exclusion of Medicaid providers for a variety of reasons is relatively common and rarely challenged.  According to the HHS Office of the Inspector General, over 9,000 providers have been excluded as Medicaid providers over the last two decades. In Florida, executive action has terminated hundreds over the past two decades.  Exclusion of a Medicaid provider is thus nothing new. It is a common experience for states to suspend or terminate a Medicaid provider’s participation in the program.  Planned Parenthood is no exception.

Finally, it should be noted that the disqualification of Planned Parenthood from any state Medicaid program would not deny anyone a meaningful choice of providers. Planned Parenthood represents a very small part of the Medicaid-eligible providers in every state. Governor Scott clearly has the authority to disqualify Planned Parenthood, and he should not give Planned Parenthood a free pass.  Were they any other Medicaid provider, they would have already been disqualified.

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, is one of 38 other state based policy councils around the country which are associated with Focus on the Family. Many of these organizations are the leading pro-life, pro-family organizations in their respective states.

For more information or to arrange an interview with John Stemberger, please contact Mike Rudin at [email protected]
or (703) 739-5920.

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