If Planned Parenthood is guilty of Medicaid fraud, it should be defunded
Whether or not abortion remains legal, Planned Parenthood should not be receiving taxpayer money. The list of reasons is long and abhorrent. From covering up sexual abuse and aiding alleged sex traffickers to neglecting patient care to the point of death, Planned Parenthood has proven that it does not put women first. Another big reason why Planned Parenthood should be defunded is because the organization is currently being sued in multiple cases for Medicaid fraud.
Susan Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood clinic manager, is suing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa) for Medicaid fraud. According to the lawsuit, from January 1, 1999 to the present, Planned Parenthood knowingly made “false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursement” to the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise.
One way in which Thayer claims Planned Parenthood committed Medicaid fraud was through its “C-Mail Program.” The program was designed to give birth control to all patients, especially those on Medicaid, through the U.S. Postal Service. According to the lawsuit, in 2008, the program was changed from “opt-in” to mandatory, and Planned Parenthood would mail birth control to patients for at least one year, often without their consent. Thayer claims that all the while, Planned Parenthood was being reimbursed $26.32 by Medicaid to cover the $2.98 cost of the oral contraception. Any prescriptions which were returned by the Post Office were reused for other patients, and Planned Parenthood was reimbursed a second time for the same contraception. According to the lawsuit, from mid-2006 through and after December 31, 2008, Planned Parenthood made such false claims to Medicaid totaling more than $824,000 a year.
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson filed suit against the non-profit in 2010, claiming that Planned Parenthood “repeated false, fraudulent, and ineligible claims for Medicaid reimbursements” from the Texas Women’s Health Program. The lawsuit alleges that Planned Parenthood knowingly committed Medicaid fraud from 2007 thru 2009 by seeking reimbursements from the Texas Women’s Health Program for products and service that were not reimbursable. The lawsuit claims that Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas (now known as Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast) filed false Medicaid claims totaling over $5.7 million by making false notations on client charts concerning their visits in order to receive reimbursement from Medicaid for services that were not eligible to be reimbursed.
Karen Reynolds, a former Planned Parenthood health care assistant, has also filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast alleging that the non-profit knowingly billed the government for services that were never actually provided. Reynolds worked for Planned Parenthood at the Lufkin, Texas branch from 1999 to 2009 and claims that Planned Parenthood employees were trained to bill government agencies for medical and family planning services that the clinic did not provide and even for abortion-related services which were documented in such a way that they could not be linked to abortion. Reynolds also alleges that each clinic was given government revenue goals and that those clinics that did not meet the goals were instructed on how to increase their government revenue, including on how to double-bill the government.
Additional tips on how to bill the government for products and services were allegedly given to Planned Parenthood employees, including, according to Reynolds, handing out unrequested bags of condoms and vaginal film to Medicaid patients and then billing Medicaid.
It’s obvious from the evidence that Planned Parenthood’s main agenda is money, not women’s health. If these Planned Parenthood clinics are found guilty of Medicaid fraud, then there is no doubt that Planned Parenthood should be defunded. It’s simply the responsible thing to do.