It’s become a familiar tale: A state defunds Planned Parenthood and a judge reverses the decision. This time the state was Kansas, and the judge was U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Kansas City. Robinson issued the ruling in response to the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, now known as Planned Parenthood Great Plains.
The Kansas City Star reports that Judge Robinson “wrote that Medicaid patients have ‘the explicit right to seek family planning services from the qualified provider of their choice.'” The Star also mentions that the state’s department of health “planned to cut off funding by Thursday for health services offered at Planned Parenthood facilities, such as exams and cancer screenings, for poor patients receiving health coverage through the state’s Medicaid program.”
What the media fails to report, however, is that cutting Medicaid from one entity, Planned Parenthood, will not cut these services from poor patients. In fact, those patients will not be affected since there are many more locations that offer the same services, along with much more.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) exist nationwide, as the map below shows. Even rural Kansas has significantly more accessible health care from FQHCs than its two Planned Parenthood locations.
In contrast, ADF shows this comparison of the number of choices women on Medicaid have (187,000+ Medicaid providers compared to 665 Planned Parenthood facilities).
But Judge Robinson disagreed.
Governor Brownback’s office issued a statement in response:
The Governor will continue the fight to make Kansas a pro-life state. We will review today’s preliminary ruling and move forward with the litigation.
Planned Parenthood cries foul, though:
“We promised to fight Governor Brownback’s fool’s errand in his attempt to cut funding to Planned Parenthood and today marks one more step forward in defending access for patients,” Laura McQuade, the affiliate’s president and CEO said in a written statement.
The paper reports:
Kansas already has blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning dollars for non-abortion services in the state. The affiliate provides both surgical and medication abortions at its clinic in Overland Park, in far eastern Kansas near Kansas City, Missouri. It began providing the medication abortions at its Wichita clinic in March.
Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis affiliate is involved in the lawsuit because its clinic in Joplin, Missouri, serves some Kansas patients.
Kansas initially planned to cut off Medicaid funding on May 10, but the state delayed the action three times after the lawsuit was filed.
The Wichita Eagle notes:
Planned Parenthood’s money from the state comes through Medicaid, called KanCare in Kansas, which provides health care for low-income and disabled Kansans.
Some of the services it covers include annual exams, birth control, preventative care and breast exams. Medicaid does not cover abortions. The state health department said Planned Parenthood received roughly $56,000 in calendar year 2014 and about $38,000 in 2015.
Of course, the paper neglects to add that all of the services KanCare would provide these poor patients would be available at FQHCs. This misconception is played up by Planned Parenthood. Its Planned Parenthood Great Plains leader McQuade said, “There’s not a Medicaid provider around every corner and so Medicaid patients need to be able to trust a high-quality, specialized reproductive healthcare provider.” And there may not be one on every corner, but there are many more Medicaid providers in the region that the limited Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Robinson’s ruling is temporary, but for now, Kansas remains obligated to fund Planned Parenthood’s purses from Medicaid reimbursements, despite the abortion giant’s history of defrauding Medicaid in other states (and settling out of court) and the current investigation into their fetal tissue harvesting practices by Congress.