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Indiana: Medicaid patients' choice not unlimited

Associated Press
June 24, 2011
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Medicaid patients don't have unlimited rights to choose medical providers, the state of Indiana said Friday in defending its decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood because it offers abortions.

Planned Parenthood and the federal government have said the state's action limits Medicaid recipients' health care options, but the state insisted it is just enforcing federal rules that restrict funding for the procedure.

The state's arguments came in response to a June 16 U.S. Justice Department brief siding with Planned Parenthood in its request for a court order blocking as unconstitutional a tough new Indiana abortion law that disqualifies Planned Parenthood of Indiana from the Medicaid program because it provides the procedure.

In its 17-page response, Indiana argued states have the same power to deny Medicaid payments to providers as the federal government. It also said the law mirrors federal restrictions on abortion funding in most cases.

"Even if States may not directly target free choice as such, they may incidentally burden free choice with restrictions aimed at other, legitimate objectives," the state said.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana has been without Medicaid funding since the law took effect May 10. The group stopped seeing Medicaid patients this week after private donations that had paid those patients' bills ran out.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt has said she intends to rule by July 1.

Justice Department attorneys said Pratt should grant Planned Parenthood's request for an injunction because the law restricts Medicaid recipients' freedom to choose their health care provider.

Pratt gave Planned Parenthood until 6 p.m. Friday to file its own response to the expected state brief.

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  • not everyone...
    I know I as a women and a Democrat dont! I think it is very good way to show the people of this country what a good government steward looks like! One of the fundamental rights to defend as a Democrat is that government shall not supersede the will of the people! The movement works for us and in Indiana as it stands today, right here and now the majority has spoken and we simple have to accept it. As much as larger national groups would like us to scream in outrage over the horrendous atrocities about to happen to the women of this state. They do not live here. They do not own the residents of this state and there for do not tell me or you how to run our lives. Being a Democrat in Indiana is a double edged sword and some times we get cut! But this is the way it is. It is a law and I thank Governor Daniels for at least standing up for his beliefs and that of the people who voted for him!
  • all we are saying is give peas a chance
    The state of Indiana has every right to honor its commitment to the tax payers who elected officials to get this done. The federal government has no right to tell the tax payers of Indiana what they can and can not fund! We should limit what we the people of Indiana want to pay for! Its our money and they work for us! And those doctors are paid for with our tax dollars. I would suggest that if someone has issue with this law then show the heck up at the polls and do something about it. Before Indiana bankrupts the aclu.
  • Tempest in a Teapot
    This is a ridiculous fight. Medicaid patients are supposed to choose a primary care doctor from whom they can get these services. Women can even choose a gynecologist for primary care and would thus get better care than at PP. Also, if the Federal government's argument that Medicaid patients should be able to go to any doctor they choose is true then why do Medicaid patients with mental issues have to go to clinics and group therapy because so few psychiatrists take Medicaid?
  • planned parenthood
    Our governor, and the republicans running ourgovernment,should all resign.These people need the planned parent money, offered by the federal government. Our governor doesn"t have the right to decide, and dictate where that money goes.
  • Unplanned parenthood
    The safest place for a baby until it is born should be in its mothers womb.
  • No Choice/No Voice
    Last I remember, Daniels was a man. He has no woman health issues to deal with. I'm pretty sure that he has enough money to pay for his families health issues when they occur. Daniels, you've just said outloud exactly what has irked me about the Old Boys club Republicans(I don't mean all of the Party, just some), "Women are to be seen and not heard" Sadly, women also voted Daniels into office. I'm sure they regret that decision now.
  • Keep them downtrodden
    Way to go Indiana. These poor people need to be kept in their place. Lets make certain they live by the moral laws we set and have lots of unwanted children that they can't support. After all we need a next generation of peons to serve those of us with the money.

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