The Obama Administration is, unsurprisingly, not happy that Indiana has cut off its special pet Planned Parenthood from Medicaid payments. And it threatens to do something about it. But apparently, that “something” is cutting off the federal share of Medicaid funding to the state, which would really hurt poor people. From the NYT story:
Federal officials have 90 days to act but may feel pressure to act sooner because Indiana is already enforcing its law, which took effect on May 10, and because legislators in other states are working on similar measures. If a state Medicaid program is not in compliance with federal law and regulations, federal officials can take corrective action, including “the total or partial withholding” of federal Medicaid money. The mere threat of such a penalty is often enough to get states to comply. Actually imposing the penalty would, in many cases, hurt the very people whom Medicaid is intended to help. Administration officials said the Indiana law imposed impermissible restrictions on the freedom of Medicaid recipients to choose health care providers.
Indiana hasn’t cut poor people off from family planning that the Feds can legally fund, as a quoted supporter of the Indiana law notes in the Times’ story. It has merely cut off one of the providers of such services because it performs abortions. So long as those services are available, what business is it to the Feds which facilities provide them? Or, are we to believe that PP has a right to receive public money.
So, this is the question: Is PP so important to Obama that he and his HHS Secretary are willing to materially hurt poor people by cutting off Medicaid funding to try and leverage restored funding for PP? Maybe so, but after a lot of threat and bluster, I doubt it. That would be too blatant a show of true colors and, as the story noted, would hurt the very people the administration purports to champion.
Expect some bizarre lawsuit instead. Liberals love to conflate their policy preferences with constitutional rights and activist judges are often eager to go along.