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Today, the Missouri legislature passed a bill prohibiting the state Medicaid program (known as MO HealthNet) from reimbursing Planned Parenthood for providing health care to Medicaid patients. This comes just months after Missouri’s highest court again ruled that “defunding” Planned Parenthood by refusing to reimburse care through the Medicaid program violates the state’s constitution. The bill also excludes Planned Parenthood from participating as a qualified provider in the state’s Medicaid program, a move that will harm the state’s health care safety-net.  

Should the governor sign the bill, it will target all reproductive care with a Texas SB 8-style law designed to entice citizens to sue any health center receiving public funding to provide cancer screenings, wellness exams, STI testing and treatment, and more — even when abortion is not provided. Experts have been clear there are not enough providers in the system to absorb the thousands of patients that Planned Parenthood health centers serve. 

The state Supreme Court and the Circuit Court of Cole County previously ruled that “defunding” is unconstitutional. Doing so also violates federal Medicaid law, which guarantees every patient’s freedom to choose any willing and qualified provider.  

Statement from Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri:  

“Yet again, members of the state legislature have decided to attack the lifesaving health care Missourians rely on rather than address the health care needs of the people they represent. Despite the courts repeatedly ruling that ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood health centers is unconstitutional, lawmakers continue to deny critical care like birth control, cancer screenings, wellness exams, and STI testing & treatment from the patients who need it. 

“Experts are clear: there are not enough other providers in the health care safety-net system to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. At Planned Parenthood, we’ll continue to do everything we can to continue serving our patients — no matter what.”

According to the Missouri Family Health Council, Planned Parenthood health centers serve nearly half 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. For this reason, Planned Parenthood health centers have worked to keep serving MO HealthNet patients at no cost — an unsustainable model for a state’s health care system.


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