COLUMBIA, S.C. — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama has issued a preliminary injunction thwarting an order from the governor of South Carolina that directed the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DDHS) to deem abortion facilities as being “unqualified to provide family planning services” and to cancel their enrollment in the state Medicaid program.
U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis ruled that South Carolina may not revoke Planned Parenthood’s participation in the Medicaid program for reasons that are unrelated to its inability to provide Medicaid-covered services.
“Defendant’s termination of PPSAT (Planned Parenthood South Atlantic) from South Carolina’s Medicaid program was not based on any alleged incompetence or inability of PPSAT to perform the medical services at issue,” she wrote. “Rather, it was based on the fact that PPSAT performs abortions outside the Medicaid program.”
“Because it is undisputed PPSAT is professionally competent to perform family planning services, Defendant’s termination of PPSAT from South Carolina’s Medicaid program violates [federal law surrounding state medical assistance],” Geiger Lewis concluded.
She rejected the State’s argument that in including Planned Parenthood in the program, it would be indirectly subsidizing abortion.
“[E]xcept in narrow circumstances required by federal law, the state’s Medicaid program does not cover abortions,” Geiger Lewis noted.
“PPSAT is reimbursed through the Medicaid program on a fee-for-service basis for covered services, and the Medicaid reimbursement rates in South Carolina do not even fully cover the cost of the Medicaid services PPSAT provides. Thus, PPSAT’s inclusion in South Carolina’s Medicaid program
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