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In the News

Okla. Gov. Seeks To Defund Planned Parenthood

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) on Thursday said she is calling for the state's Health Care Authority to end its Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Talley, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/19).

According to Reuters, the two Planned Parenthood affiliates operate a total of six clinics in Tulsa and Oklahoma City (Krehbiel-Burton, Reuters, 11/19).

State Reviews Planned Parenthood

Fallin asked OHCA to defund the affiliates based on preliminary findings of an ongoing OHCA audit of the organizations. According to the audit, one affiliate had a billing error rate of about 20% while the other had a billing error rate of about 14% (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/19). The review did not find any improper use of state funding (Reuters, 11/19).

Noting that the audit is ongoing, OHCA CEO Nico Gomez said he would follow the governor's request if further investigations confirm the earlier findings. Fallin cannot cancel the agreements herself (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/19).

PPH noted, "The findings of these audits are a normal part of the process in reviewing health care reimbursement," adding, "Often, it is simply a matter of submitting additional documentation that supports the request for full Medicaid reimbursement." The organization said Fallin's call was "premature and incredibly disappointing" (Reuters, 11/19).

Other States Unsuccessful in Defunding Efforts

Courts have blocked several recent attempts by states to defund Planned Parenthood following an antiabortion-rights group's release of a series of misleading videos targeting the organization (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/26). Fallin did not list the videos as her reason for seeking to defund the affiliates.

Elizabeth Nash, a senior policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, pointed out attempts in Arizona and Indiana to remove Planned Parenthood from their state Medicaid programs in 2011 and 2012 that similarly failed. Citing defunding moves in other states, Nash said of Fallin's efforts, "It's certainly about defunding Planned Parenthood and not about billing errors" (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/19).