Washington D.C., Jan 7, 2017 / 04:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Audits showing Planned Parenthood’s alleged misuse of federal funds are further proof that the organization should be barred from receiving federal money, pro-life advocates say.
“The extent of waste and abuse in the nation’s family planning programs, and specifically in those operated by Planned Parenthood, is beyond disturbing,” Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan stated upon the release of a joint report by the institute and the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom on abortion clinics overbilling taxpayer-funded health programs. “Congress should do what the House of Representatives has twice voted to do: end taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s most profitable abortionist, once and for all,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Steven H. Aden stated.
The report, titled “Profit. No Matter What,” is based on dozens of external audits and reviews of Planned Parenthood affiliates. It was authored by Catherine Glenn Foster, a senior fellow in legal policy at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. It was released on Wednesday, the same day that the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released its over 400-page final report on abuses and possible lawbreaking by abortion clinics, universities, and tissue procurement companies in the fetal tissue trade.
Planned Parenthood has a spotty track record, Donovan said, pointing to previous reports on the organization’s alleged abuses. “This report joins earlier findings on issues of human trafficking, failure to report statutory rape, alleged violations of fetal organ trafficking laws, and other profound concerns that reinforce the need for Congress to reallocate funds to agencies that respect human life and put women first,” Donovan said of Wednesday’s report.
The CLI-ADF report is the fifth annual report by the groups on audits of taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and other “family planning” clinics. The latest report includes new federal and state audits of family programs and clinics. The “research strongly suggests that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are engaged in a pattern of practices designed to maximize their bottom-line revenues through billings to complex, well-funded federal and state programs that are understaffed and rely on the integrity of the provider for program compliance,” the report noted.
Overall, “nearly all” of 51 audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates in 12 states showed that affiliates were overbilling Medicaid and other publicly-funded health programs, costing taxpayers millions. “Title XIX-Medicaid overpayments” at these affiliates amounted to over $8.5 million. And the waste and fraud may be much greater than that amount, the report claimed: “The weight of evidence indicates that waste by Planned Parenthood affiliates may be widespread, and suggests that such policies may be the result of, at a minimum, a policy of benign neglect over billing practices organization-wide by Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s headquarters in New York City.”
Abortion clinics in some cases will have abortion-related services — or abortions themselves — paid for by Medicaid or state family planning programs. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from funding abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake. Clinics will do this by utilizing “fragmentation” or “unbundling” billing to have abortion-related services like counseling or a pre-abortion examination paid for with public dollars, the report found. Even abortions themselves may be billed to Medicaid.
“In New York alone during one four-year audit period, it appeared that hundreds of thousands of abortion-related claims were billed unlawfully to Medicaid,” the report noted. One Nebraska audit found a Planned Parenthood clinic spending federal funds on abortion-related expenses, and physician fees for a doctor who only performed abortions. Over $3,500 in taxpayer funds were used for abortion services there.
Other instances of abuse by clinics included giving prescription drugs to clients without a physician’s authorization, “billing for services that were not actually rendered,” “duplicate billing,” and “failing to pay the bills for which an affiliate had already been reimbursed with taxpayer funds.”
In California alone, one 2004 audit found that Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties had overbilled contraceptive and Plan B products by $5.2 million. “Three federal audits specifically identify Planned Parenthood — and only Planned Parenthood — as the problem in state family planning program overbilling,” the report noted.
What should be done about Planned Parenthood? The organization must be defunded of taxpayer dollars, CLI and ADF both insisted.
Also investigations of the organization should examine allegations of clinics “double-dipping” by receiving funds or payments from clients or organizations and still billing Medicaid for those services provided. Those allegations were made in a previous ADF report on Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen Foundation grants.
Back in August of 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office responded to requests by members of Congress and opened an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of taxpayer funds. A previous GAO investigation found that from 2010-12, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates received over $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars from federal and state funds.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, with over 300,000 abortions performed annually. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) announced Thursday that in budget reconciliation legislation that is under consideration, taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood would be redirected to community health centers that do not provide abortions. President-Elect Donald Trump made the defunding of Planned Parenthood one of his promises to pro-life voters on the campaign trail in 2016.