Missouri Court Rules in Favor of Planned Parenthood Medicaid Patients; ‘Defunding’ is Unconstitutional
For Immediate Release: Dec. 28, 2022
Today, a Missouri state court ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLRSWMO), finding the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) violated the state’s constitution by refusing to reimburse care provided to Missouri patients through the Medicaid program. This is in response to a lawsuit filed by PPGP and PPSLRSWMO over the so-called “defunding,” which blocked reimbursements for care Planned Parenthood provided to patients this year.
DSS halted payments to Planned Parenthood in March 2022 after the legislature passed and Governor Mike Parson signed an unlawful appropriations bill that denied reimbursements for patients receiving care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Services provided at Planned Parenthood health centers via MO HealthNet — the State’s Medicaid program — include birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other non-abortion care.
Despite the state’s unconstitutional refusal to pay for services provided to patients via Medicaid, Missouri’s 11 Planned Parenthood health centers have continued to provide care to those patients without reimbursement.
Today’s decision affirms a 2020 state Supreme Court ruling that found defunding Planned Parenthood through the state’s budget is unconstitutional. The targeting of Planned Parenthood also violates federal Medicaid law, which protects every patient’s freedom to choose any willing and qualified provider, including Planned Parenthood.
Statement from Emily Wales, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains
“Today’s decision is a win for patients and providers who are part of the state’s critical safety net. Once again, a Missouri court has sent a clear message to reactionary politicians: quit playing games and follow the law. At Planned Parenthood Great Plains, we’ll continue providing high-quality health care to Missourians, as we have for nearly nine decades. Our doors are open to all.”
Statement from Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri:
“The Missouri legislature’s open disregard for precedent and state law has failed, again. Today’s decision re-affirms federal Medicaid law, which protects every patient’s right to choose their provider. Fighting this matter in court year after year is a waste of taxpayer dollars. We urge Missouri politicians to join us in creating solutions that address the dueling public health crises — an STI epidemic, Black maternal mortality, and the ongoing ‘tripledemic’ of Covid-19, Influenza, and RSV — in our state.”
According to the Missouri Family Health Council, in 2021, Planned Parenthood health centers served 52 percent of all patients who rely on family planning safety net providers in the state. Other providers cannot absorb the thousands of patients impacted by defunding laws. That’s why Planned Parenthood health centers have vowed to keep serving MO HealthNet patients at no cost.