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Indiana to appeal ruling on planned parenthood funding

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller [official website] filed a notice of appeal [text, PDF; docketing statement, PDF] Tuesday challenging a preliminary injunction blocking parts of a state law [HEA 1210, text] denying that medicaid funds go to Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) [advocacy website]. The state is challenging a decision in the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana [official website] by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt that prevents application of the portion of the law that bans contracts between state agencies and any entity that performs abortions [JURIST news archive] or maintains a facility where abortions are performed. The appeal seeks to determine whether the preliminary injunction may continue before the case proceeds. PPIN and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed the challenge seeking a permanent injunction of the law. Zoeller noted [press release] that the state is already appealing the administrative decision made earlier this month by Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMMS) [official website], to deny approval of the law [JURIST report]. He sent a letter to the Indiana state agency saying states have the ability to assign the qualified provider status, but the law violates § 1902(a)(23) of the Social Security Act [text] because it prevents Medicaid beneficiaries from receiving services from certain providers for reasons unrelated to the providers qualifications to provide those services.

The Obama administration has taken a stance against the Indiana law. In addition to the CMMS denial, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed a brief urging the court to grant an injunction [JURIST report] to stop the enforcement of the law. The ban includes disbursement of grant money, including federal Medicare funds, a provision PPIN claims is not legal under the federal Medicaid Act's "freedom of choice" provision, which allows states to disallow Medicare funding for medical providers based on deficiencies in quality of service. Before granting the preliminary injunction, the judge denied a request for a restraining order [JURIST report] to block implementation of the law.

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