Last Thursday, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office made the case for the law prohibiting abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving state taxpayer funding. Solicitor General Tom Fisher made the appeal in Chicago before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that deals with these kinds of funding disputes with the states. Such disputes are fairly common as states make all sorts of adjustments to fit their own public policy and criteria. Fisher argued that state law allows Indiana to set qualifications for funding of service providers. He asked the agency to reconsider its ruling in June barring the new state law (HEA 1210) from taking effect.
"This is the appropriate forum for the dispute between Indiana and the federal government over whether our State's plan can prevent indirect Medicaid funding for abortion procedures by precluding Medicaid funds from going to abortion providers. We contend the State was fully within its authority to set provider qualifications for Medicaid funding, so we are asking the federal agency to reverse its earlier decision and approve Indiana's Medicaid plan amendment," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.
Separately, Planned Parenthood of Indiana filed a legal challenge to House Enrolled Act 1210 in May shortly after the new law took effect. On June 24, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt entered a preliminary injunction preventing the State from enforcing the new law. The State then filed an interlocutory appeal in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that was argued to the three-judge panel October 20. The 7th Circuit took the case under advisement and has not ruled yet.
The CMS panel of hearing officers took oral arguments last week. They will issue a ruling at a later date.