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    Attorneys General Urge Full Fifth Circuit to Hear Planned Parenthood Case


    July 19, 2017

    Says, ‘Patients are not only entitled to satisfactory care through ethical and responsible providers, but they should never be treated as pawns in an administrative process’

    LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading a coalition of 15 states in filing an amicus brief

    in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, urging an en banc rehearing of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Inc. v. Gee, which could have sweeping consequences on the abilities of states to enforce the rules of the Medicaid program.

    The case at the 5th Circuit is similar to a case out of Arkansas involving a fight to terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider of Medicaid services after videos surfaced, alleging Planned Parenthood could be involved in selling aborted fetal body parts for profit. A three-judge panel at the 8th Circuit has heard oral argument in the Arkansas case and a decision is pending.

    “Patients are not only entitled to satisfactory care through ethical and responsible providers, but they should never be treated as pawns in an administrative process,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If Planned Parenthood, or any Medicaid provider, feels it has been wrongly terminated it should follow the proper process as established by Congress to address the problem.”

    A sharply divided three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit ruled that a single patient has the authority to attack a state agency’s decision to disqualify, or terminate, a provider from the Medicaid program for misconduct. The panel’s decision means that a patient may even bring such a challenge where the provider itself intentionally did not appeal the disqualification and the supervising agency of the federal government did not object to the action of the state.

    Rutledge and her colleagues believe that the full 5th Circuit should hear this case because of its far-reaching impact and consequences it will have on the states. The attorneys general write, “one could easily imagine a patient challenging a provider’s disqualification even after the federal government, state government and the provider itself all affirmatively agreed to the penalty. There is simply no reason to believe Congress would have given a patient (collectively millions of patients) the ability to interfere in the highly complex administrative process between the federal government, the state government and the provider regarding enforcement of the technical rules of the Medicaid program.”

    Rutledge and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton co-lead the brief and were joined by the attorneys general of Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia, as well as the Governors of Kentucky and Mississippi.

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