Supreme Court Defeats States Efforts to Block Medicaid Funding of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has won a legal victory as the Supreme Court has rebuffed an effort by states to block access by Medicaid patients to the group’s services.

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The dispute did not involve abortion, but rather whether or not states have the authority to block Medicaid funds from paying for any services administered by Planned Parenthood specifically, which also provide services such as health screenings, contraceptive coverage, pregnancy testing and cancer screening.

In particular, Medicaid patients from Kansas and Louisiana took action against Planned Parenthood, bringing forth a lawsuit claiming that the states had violated a Medicare requirement, which required that patients must be free to seek their healthcare from any qualified and willing provider, in the states’ denial to pay for services through Planned Parenthood.

Two lower federal courts found in their favor and entered injunctions ordering that Louisiana and Kansas must lift their bans on providing funding to Planned Parenthood for patient services.

Two previous rulings left in place

The ruling by the highest court in the nation left in place two lower court opinions which said states violate federal law when they terminate Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood affiliates who offer preventative care for low income women.

Victory through court not taking up the case

The victory comes by way of the court not taking up the case, but rather by its leaving two prior lower federal court rulings in place.

Surprisingly, conservative Justice Kavanaugh and Chief Justice Roberts voted with majority and court’s liberals in allowing the lower courts’ ruling to stand. Three of the Supreme Court’s conservatives felt the nation’s highest legal authority should have taken the case: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.

Deters abortion-related issues for now

By avoiding taking up the case, the Supreme Court has sidestepped any high-profile abortion-related issues for now.