Judge Overturns Arizona Law that Violated Medicaid Rules

golden gavelMedicaid is a public form of health insurance that provides coverage for people who are low-income. A Judge has overturned a law in Arizona that would have barred Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding. The law violates Medicaid’s freedom of choice provision.

Medicaid is funded by both the federal government and the government of an individual state. Recently, Governor Jan Brewer expand that Arizona would expand its Medicaid program. The federal government offers funding to enable states to do that. The funding would be used to cover more low-income people who cannot afford to purchase a health plan from a private insurance company.

There has been a court case going on in Arizona for quite some time now that directly relates to Medicaid. In May of 2012, Governor Jan Brewer signed a law that barred Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding. The effect was that women who were covered by Medicaid could no longer access health care from Planned Parenthood.

The purpose of the law was an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Specifically, it was to prevent organizations that provide abortion from being able to do so. The lawmakers in Arizona chose not to take into account that Planned Parenthood also offers family planning, cancer screening, and many other forms of women’s health care. They also didn’t consider that not every Planned Parenthood clinic provides abortion.

Planned Parenthood sued the state of Arizona over this law. They argued that it was unacceptable for the state to tell Arizonans who they can and cannot see for their health care.

In October of 2012, District Court Judge Neil Wake issued a temporary injunction against the law. The effect of the temporary injunction was to block the state of Arizona from cutting off Medicaid funding for family planning and health care services for Planned Parenthood.

Now, in February of 2013, District Court Judge Neil Wake has made a final decision. He overturned the Arizona law that was an attempt to block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding. He said:

The Arizona Act violates the freedom of choice provision of the Medicaid Act precisely because every Medicaid beneficiary has the right to select any qualified health care provider.

The result of this decision means that women in Arizona, who are covered by Medicaid, will not be limited in their choice of provider for their health care needs. They can choose any provider they like, including Planned Parenthood.

Image by walknboston on Flickr