Breaking: HHS says no to Indiana plan to defund Planned Parenthood

Via the Associated Press:

The Health and Human Services Department is telling the state of Indiana that its Medicaid plan, which bans funding to Planned Parenthood, is illegal and must be changed.

In a letter sent to Indiana’s Medicaid director, and obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Medicaid Administrator Donald M. Berwick says Indiana’s plan will improperly bar Medicaid beneficiaries from receiving services. Berwick writes that federal law requires Medicaid beneficiaries to be able to obtain services from any provider qualified to provide services.

This is a really big deal, especially since other states are already considering similar bans as a way to defund Planned Parenthood. The steps taken by the Obama Administration in recent weeks regarding these funding bans represent one of the strongest moves in support of reproductive health services they’ve made so far. It’s also an important response to the state-level attacks on reproductive rights which have been sweeping across the nation.

Now we wait to see how Indiana responds–they could amend their plans to align with the law, or they could face penalties. It’s also possible this will be challenged in the courts.

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