“Profit. No Matter What.” That's the appropriately named new report detailing dozens of external audits and reviews of Planned Parenthood affiliates in 12 states. Authored by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, research arm of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, the report's alleged misuse of federal funds comes on the heels of previous reports of alleged abuses. Pro-life groups say the report is just further proof that the organization should be barred from receiving federal money.
“The extent of waste and abuse in the nation’s family planning programs, and specifically in those operated by PP, 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 PP, the nation’s most profitable abortionist, once and for all,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Steven H. Aden stated.
The new report was released Jan. 4th, the same day that the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released its 400-page final report on abuses and possible lawbreaking by abortion clinics, universities, and tissue procurement companies in the fetal tissue trade.
“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.
The CLI-ADF report is the fifth annual report by the groups on audits of taxpayer funding of PP and other “family planning” clinics. The latest report includes new federal and state audits of family programs and clinics.
The “research strongly suggests that PP 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.
It's quite possible the waste and fraud may be much greater than that amount, the report claimed. “The weight of evidence indicates that waste by PP 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 PP's headquarters in NYC.”
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 (which could be a five-minute chat about how having a child could interfere with this young woman's life and how abortion is clearly the solution!) or 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 PP – and only PP – as the problem in state family planning program overbilling,” the report noted.
The organization must be defunded of taxpayer dollars, CLI and ADF both insist urgently. Other recommendations include investigating Planned Parenthood to look at 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 PP 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, PP and its affiliates received over $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars from federal and state funds.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) announced last 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 and it continues to be the top priority of pro-life advocates.
Planned Parenthood remains the nation's largest abortion provider, performing more than 300,000 abortions annually. Ironically, their self-serving slogan is “Care. No Matter What.”