Arkansas joins Alabama, Louisiana and New Hampshire in defunding Planned Parenthood. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson directed the Arkansas Department of Human Services to terminate its existing agreements with Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Termination will be effective thirty days from the date of the letter that the department sent to the Planned Parenthood affiliate.
“It is apparent that after the recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them. This includes their affiliated organization, Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma,” Hutchinson said in a released statement.
“I appreciate the legislature’s leadership on this important issue, especially that of Senator Eddie Joe Williams and Representative David Meeks,” he added.
The Obama Administration is pushing back against states that are defunding Planned Parenthood through their Medicaid contracts. The Hill reports:
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) has contacted Louisiana and Alabama about the issue.
“CMS has notified states who have taken action to terminate their Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood that they may be in conflict with federal law,” Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Ben Wakana said in a statement.
“Longstanding Medicaid laws prohibit states from restricting individuals who have coverage through Medicaid from receiving care from a qualified provider,” he said. “By restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings.”
The warning was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Federal courts have in the past blocked state attempts by states including Indiana and Arizona to cut Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid, citing the law that gives consumers a choice in providers.
Mike Reed, a spokesman for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), indicated the state and its Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) are standing by its decision.
The language in the contracts allows either party to cancel the contract at will with 30 days notice.