This week, Austin American-Statesman columnist Bridget Grumet exposed Texas extremists’ latest desperate attempt to decimate essential health care access in the state — this time by misusing the law to try to shut down Planned Parenthood, a trusted provider of affordable, preventive health services for more than 100,000 Texans each year.
In case you missed it, the state of Texas – led by Attorney General Ken Paxton – and an anonymous plaintiff are suing Planned Parenthood for nearly $2 billion, falsely alleging that the Texas affiliates defrauded the state's Medicaid system by getting reimbursed for birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care services that courts explicitly said they could provide.
Grumet writes, “This case is a bare-knuckled attempt by Paxton to use the courts to financially crush a health care provider — even as our state ranks among the worst in the country for women trying to access quality, affordable care.
Because, well, it’s Planned Parenthood.”
Last week, the Planned Parenthood Texas affiliates and Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed motions for summary judgment, asking a U.S. district court judge to rule in their favor in the ongoing baseless lawsuit. Sara Rosenbaum, professor emerita of health law and policy at George Washington University, told Grumet that the lawsuit and the “incredible” penalties it seeks are “without any basis in law or fact.”
As the motions for summary judgment detail, Planned Parenthood did not commit Medicaid fraud and did absolutely nothing wrong.
But as the Statesman column makes clear, the facts don’t matter to AG Paxton and his extremist allies. Instead of addressing the very real health care crisis facing their state, those leaders are laser-focused on stripping Texans of their last remaining affordable health care options and punishing Planned Parenthood for, as Grumet writes, “having the audacity to provide real care to real patients.”
More from Grumet:
- “To be clear, this case is not about abortion. Medicaid never covered that, and Planned Parenthood didn’t seek Medicaid payments for it. Plus, Texas laws now ban the procedure.”
- “This case is about the other care that women need — and Paxton’s indifference to those patients as he continues his scorched-earth campaign against some of the clinics that serve them.”
- “Planned Parenthood provides wellness exams, contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and other nonabortion health care services for more than 100,000 Texans a year — not through Medicaid, but on a sliding-fee scale to anyone who needs care. And in many communities, it’s not easy for patients to find care elsewhere.”
Grumet’s column shares the story of Planned Parenthood patient Natalie Vallot, now an Austin-based nurse practitioner who relied on Planned Parenthood in Texas for affordable health care while she was uninsured, including when she faced a breast cancer scare.
“Vallot said the state’s effort to shut down Planned Parenthood is personal to her: It’s the place that provided care in her hour of need, and continues to provide care to thousands of others,” Grumet writes. “I wish the stakes felt equally personal to Paxton. But he’s got a political battle to wage, with taxpayer dollars, for the glory of his party. Never mind the patients who suffer the collateral damage.”
Read more about the baseless Medicaid lawsuit here. See this memo for a full list of ongoing court cases related to sexual and reproductive health, including still more attacks in Texas that also seek to limit young people’s access to birth control through Title X and to end FDA approval of mifepristone.
For more information or to speak with a Planned Parenthood representative, please email [email protected].
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.