Texas Gov. Greg Abbott might be attempting to cover his and other Texas officials’ asses after their entire fetal tissue argument for defunding and raiding Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast clinics is crashing and burning.
Stuart Bowen Jr., the head of the Office of Inspector General of Texas Health and Human Services, sent a letter notifying Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of the state’s intent to strip its funding. Days later, the same officials raided three of the clinic’s four offices in which abortions are performed.
Now, officials claim a whistleblower reported Planned Parenthood for Medicaid fraud, basing the claim on two old, settled cases.
Planned Parenthood ‘Selling Baby Parts’
Gov. Abbott said, “the harvesting of baby parts” wouldn’t be allowed, according to Reuters.
The “baby parts” Gov. Abbott is referring to comes from the now totally discredited videos the Center for Medical Progress released. The videos claim Planned Parenthood employees talk about selling aborted fetuses on tape.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal attempted to defund the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics using the same videos as evidence, and failed. According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge John deGravelles forced the state to continue paying Planned Parenthood its Medicaid reimbursements because it is unlikely the courts will find the alleged program violations or incompetence.
In other words, Gov. Jindal can’t defund Planned Parenthood if it doesn’t have a fetal tissue program in Louisiana, and doesn’t perform abortions in the state.
Planned Parenthood Medicaid Fraud
Because of that ruling, Texas officials came up with a Plan B, of sorts. They now allege Medicaid fraud and say a whistleblower reported it, but this is just another excuse to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood.
The outrage that Texas officials would deny safe, affordable healthcare to the more than 200,000 women served by the four clinics is well warranted.
Not only would all of those women be severely inconvenienced, but many will be without a viable place to go for affordable and safe health care. Additionally, unwanted births would increase by more than 24,000, and state and federal Medicaid costs would increase to the tune of $243 million.
According to the letter to Planned Parenthood, the whistleblower allegedly reported multiple alleged Medicaid “program violations” at the Austin clinic. Some allegations are connected with the discredited CMP videos, and others are connected with alleged fraudulent billing practices. This tactic will quickly crash and burn, too.
According to the letter, Planned Parenthood uses “a policy of agreeing to procure fetal tissue,” in its Texas clinics. This claim is blatantly false. Planned Parenthood does not operate a fetal tissue program in Texas, so there couldn’t possibly be any procurement of fetal tissue. No program means no violations. No violations means no case.
The letter also alleges new “whistleblower reports” that Planned Parenthood is involved with fraudulent billing practices, or Medicaid fraud. While Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast did settle Medicaid fraud charges in two cases, one was settled three years ago, and another one year ago, Gov. Abbott’s Medicaid fraud charges are old news.
Not only do the fetal tissue allegations against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast have nothing to do with clinics in Texas, but Texas officials didn’t want to terminate Planned Parenthood’s funding when the state settled the Medicaid fraud cases.
As such, the courts will likely not allow Texas to terminate the Planned Parenthood Medicaid contracts now.