The Obama administration this month warned two states that by ending Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood, they may be out of compliance with federal law — step one in a process that could end in a complete termination of federal Medicaid funding for those states.
But if precedent holds, things need not get that far for Planned Parenthood in Louisiana and Alabama to keep receiving Medicaid money. (Friday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson directed the state Human Services Department to end its agreement with Planned Parenthood.)
States have made similar defunding attempts before, and when Planned Parenthood sued, they lost in court.
"Medicaid is by far the largest source of family-planning funds in this country, so I guess that would be one reason why you'd want to go after Medicaid, but it just seems that that hasn't worked," said Elizabeth Nash, a senior associate at the Guttmacher Institute. "Because it hasn't been successful, I don't see why anyone would think it'd be successful."
In early August, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that the state Medicaid agency had informed Planned Parenthood it was terminating the organization's Medicaid provider agreement. A few days later, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley did the same. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reached out to each agency shortly after the announcements to tell them they "may be in conflict with federal law," according to a Health and Human Services spokesperson.