Rosenbaum Blogs in Health Affairs on Efforts to Exclude Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

A State Medicaid Directors Letter from the Trump administration effectively invites states to try to push Planned Parenthood out of their Medicaid programs, according to a new blog by George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health Professor Sara Rosenbaum in Health Affairs.

Rosenbaum, the school’s Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy, presents her analysis of the administration’s policy guidance suggesting this new strategy in her Health Affairs blog, “The Trump Administration’s Newest Strategy For Excluding Planned Parenthood From Medicaid."  The guidance is in the form of a letter that rescinds a previous letter to Medicaid directors, a step that Rosenbaum says is “quite extraordinary.” 

The blog explains how the administration is interpreting Medicaid’s free choice of provider provision, using a surprising recent court decision as the basis for a strategy to encourage more states to exclude Planned Parenthood clinics.  In August 2017, in a major departure from decisions issued by the Seventh, Ninth and Fifth Circuit federal appeals courts, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals barred Medicaid beneficiaries from even challenging the exclusion.    

The letter gives “a heads-up to other states and other courts that the Trump administration rejects the Obama Administration’s previous position siding with beneficiaries and Planned Parenthood and opposing state efforts to bar Planned Parenthood from Medicaid,” Rosenbaum explains.

Her blog provides details about the particulars of the Trump administration’s strategy, the judicial landscape leading up to the action, and previous congressional attempts to ban federal payments to Planned Parenthood clinics.