Planned Parenthood

Justice Department Sides With Planned Parenthood in Case Against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Jindal effort to "defund" Planned Parenthood violates Medicaid's "free choice of provider" rule.


PBS News Hour/Flickr

Planned Parenthood's lawsuit against Louisiana Governor and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal earned a head pat from the Obama administration on Monday. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a "statement of interest" in support of Planned Parenthood's position that Jindal can't just end Louisiana's Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood without a qualified reason.

Doing so "without providing any justification related to … medical services" would violate the Medicaid Act's "free choice of provider" provision, the DOJ said in its brief. This provision "gives Medicaid beneficiaries the right to receive covered services from any qualified provider that is willing to perform the services, free of interference from the State." 

Louisiana's two Planned Parenthood clinics treated 5,200 Medicaid patients last year, according to The New York Times. As of September 2, these patients will be barred from using Medicaid insurance at Planned Parenthood clinics. Jindal contended that this "does not jeopardize those services in any way, as Planned Parenthood is just one of many providers in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas." But critics say that of the alleged thousands of qualified providers offering the same health services as Planned Parenthood, many refuse to see Medicaid patients because the reimbursement rates are too low.

The Jindal administration asserts that it can cancel a Medicaid provider agreement "at will" with 30-days notice. The Justice Department, however, disagrees: "States do not have unfettered discretion to determine that a provider is not qualified for purposes of federal Medicaid law," the agency writes, pointing out that the Department of Health and Human Services "has repeatedly and consistently interpreted the (law) to prohibit a State from denying access to a provider for reasons unrelated to the ability of that provider to perform Medicaid-covered services."

Planned Parenthood is also suing Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley right now over his efforts to drop it as a Medicaid provider. Federal courts have previously sided with Planned Parenthood in similar cases in Arizona and Indiana.

"The federal government has typically waded into local court cases only when the outcome directly affected a federal interest, such as national security or diplomacy," Matt Apuzzo noted at The New York Times in August. "Recently, however, the Justice Department has filed statements of interest in cases involving legal aid in New York, transgender students in Michigan, juvenile prisoners in solitary detention in California, and people who take videos of police officers in Baltimore. The government has weighed in on employment discrimination claims brought by transgender plaintiffs and a lawsuit over the right of blind people with service dogs to be able to use Uber, a car-sharing service." 


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  1. So the DOJ just invalidated Certificate-of-Need regulations in how many states?

    1. Zero. DoJ is not doing this to promulgate blind Rule of Law, it’s doing it to ensure Correct Views prevail. I bet that if they were dropping an organization that didn’t, say, give benefits to gay married couples, “prohibit a State from denying access to a provider for reasons unrelated to the ability of that provider to perform Medicaid-covered services” wouldn’t be invoked.

      1. enough with them negative waves moriarity.

        1. Look, I’ve been thinking nothing but positive about the damn bridge!

            1. When we was in the bocage country, we was assaulted by them Tigers!

              You know what I mean by “assaulted”?

              Well, I mean assaulted!

            2. Why did you trade our gold for this? This tank is a piece of garbage!

          1. +1 dysfunctional band of Spanish guerillas

    2. You know that would be a hilarious way to spin this. Make your headline that the DOJ has just announced that Certificate-of-Need regulations are invalid. Make the first couple paragraphs about all the harm the regulations have done, then explain how the ruling says you can’t have these laws anymore using quotes from the ruling, and completely fail to mention anything about planned parenthood. Switch the whole footing of the argument, and for anyone that wants to respond to have to start from your premise.

  2. “The federal government has typically waded into local court cases only when the outcome directly affected a federal interest, such as national security or diplomacy,”

    This is the real story. Is Planned Parenthood retaining the DoJ as paid counsel? No? Butt the fuck out.

    1. Imagine the kittens the Progs would have had if George Bush had had DOJ intervene for the NRA or some other right wing group. The dark night of fascism would have been falling on America.

      1. Yeah it’s a good thing the Bush DOJ managed to skirt any such controversies and wasn’t the most politicized DOJ in the history of the country.

        1. Can you back up this claim?

        2. You mean other than the LBJ era DOJ, or the Nixon era DOJ, or any of the DOJ when Hoover was director of the FBI? Or the Eisenhower DOJ (blacklists, anyone?), or the current president’s DOJ, where we can’t even investigate Black Panthers wielding Truncheons outside a polling place, but lord forbid any state have voter ID? The DOJ has always been at least semi-political, and to act as if it has had rule of law in mind is a complete joke. How do you think FDR justified interning Japanese and German Americans during WWII? The DOJ approved it, and his solicitor general argued the case against the Supreme Court.

  3. the Department of Health and Human Services “has repeatedly and consistently interpreted the (law) to prohibit a State

    “We are…the law!”

    1. It might be helpful if the law actually said that “a State is prohibited from denying access to a provider for reasons unrelated to the ability of that provider to perform Medicaid-covered services.”

      Instead of just, you know, DHS saying that’s what the law really means.

      Caveat: for all I know, the law is pretty clear on this. Seems unlikely, though, given the way the DOJ and DHHS are arguing their point.

      1. It would have been very helpful if Elizabeth had included the statutory language at issue. Also, I would be interested to hear how often states cut off other medical providers and how much scrutiny their justification is given. If it is the case that the statute doesn’t say what Louisiana claims it does and other providers have sued and prohibited states from kicking them out of medicare, then DOJ and PP is probably right here. I have no idea if that is true, however, and would be surprised if it is.

        1. Federal courts have previously sided with Planned Parenthood in similar cases in Arizona and Indiana.

          Makes me think the DOJ is probably correct. But who knows.

          1. Maybe. But have they ever sided with any other medical provider who got kicked out off medicare?

            1. Not a clue, be nice to know though.

              1. Yes it would.

        2. I’d like to know if Planned Parenthood is actually providing services. I recall them complaining about “woman not being able to get mammograms” when PP didn’t do any themselves, but only referred to the actual provider.

          1. There was a big controversy over these a few years ago in Columbus because Ohio State wanted to redevelop the plaza across High Street that the Planned Parenthood office is in (because Crony Capitalism is the best Capitalism for those who can switch between public and private sector jobs easily). The campus Pro Choice activists went nuts over nothing, since there are no medical procedures performed on that site, just advice and referrals.

  4. And although she won’t come right out and say so, fake libertarian Elizabeth Nolan Brown not only approves of forced taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, but of course supports this administration’s federal intervention to ensure that it continues.

    1. People keep saying “forced taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood” like it means something.

      Unless Jindal’s issuing a tax refund in the amount of the money that used to go to Planned Parenthood, this isn’t about “forced taxpayer funding”. Jindal’s fine with forced taxpayer funding — he just wants to force taxpayers to fund something else.

      1. Dan, are you sure you want to engage in a battle of wits with a man who thinks “Block Insane Yomamma” is a clever turn of phrase?

      2. Which part of the phrase “of planned parenthood” do you not understand? Saying we should end forced taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is not saying we should end forced taxpayer funding of everything. That is why the subordinate clause is there.

        Do me a favor and please stop raping the English Language and its grammar with your bizarre understanding of it.

        1. John, I’ll dumb it down a little for you, since you missed the slightly more complex point:

          You, as a taxpayer, don’t fund Planned Parenthood. You pay taxes. The government funds Planned Parenthood with its money, not yours.

          You’re not angry about the “forced funding” — i.e., the taxes — because you aren’t demanding that the taxes be repealed. You’re fine with the taxes. You masturbate with glee when people are “forced” to “fund” some right-wing project like bombing the hell out of the Middle East.

          What you’re angry about is that the government is giving money to Planned Parenthood in particular, as opposed to some other health care organization that doesn’t offend your delicate sensibilities. To which I say: shut up, you whiny little shit.

          1. So it really isnt tax payer money….so you are cool with the middle eastern wars since it is the govt money? Got it

            You literally just contradicted yourself by saying it is the govts money only to complain about funding right wing stuff

          2. You are an idiot Don. You just dumb as a fucking post. Go troll some other board. Maybe one where they speak a different language

  5. I have no idea what the law actually says or what the proper interpretation of it is. Jindal might be right, the DoJ might be right, or both might be wrong.

    What I do know is that regardless of what the law actually says, the DoJ would have reached the same decision.

    1. Are you cool with this the second sentence?

  6. It is truly a shame that their aren’t doctors and NPs out there, who aren’t employed by PP, who specialize in womens health that could perform pap smears, and prescribe birth control. It is also a shame that family practice providers can’t prescribe birth control. If only birth control was inexpensive and freely available. And imagine if medical schools and graduate programs for Nurse Practitioners actually gave training to professionals to study womens health.

    I guess only in our dreams………

  7. Meanwhile, there is this…..f-clinics/

    Hey, Jindal is just a big meanie. There is no reason at all not to lavish taxpayer funding on these people.

    1. OMG enough with that fake scandal, there’s something something Trump something important!

  8. So does this medicaid cover abortions?

  9. Roll it over dude, roll it over!

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