(Washington, DC) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued the following statement today after the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services, denied the state of Indiana’s request to exclude family planning providers that provide abortion services from the Medicaid program, requiring Indiana to comply with long accepted law and ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries in the state can continue to access services from the provider of their choice, including Planned Parenthood:
“This step is a powerful, prompt rebuke to Indiana- and a strong warning to other states considering similar ill-advised and illegal action denying essential health care to women. I applaud Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Berwick for their swift action. I hope other state legislatures considering similarly misguided attempts to block women, teens, and families from the health care and family planning services they need and deserve will reconsider these dangerous proposals, and I remain committed to standing up for women’s health.
CMS also issued an informational bulletin to all states advising that similar actions violate longstanding federal Medicaid statute.
Last week, Blumenthal led 29 of his Senate colleagues in writing to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, calling on HHS to clarify to state Medicaid directors across the country that state laws attempting to exclude family planning clinics that provide abortion services from Medicaid or Title X participation, such as Planned Parenthood, would lead to compliance actions on the part of HHS.
The Senators wrote to Secretary Sebelius as numerous states consider legislation that would prohibit Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funds for family planning services, including Medicaid funds and Title X family planning funds, endangering the health of millions of women, teens, and families across the country, such as the proposal recently enacted in Indiana.