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Planned Parenthood Medicaid Case Could Go To Supreme Court

Planned Parenthood wants the nation’s highest court to block a last-ditch effort to cut off its Medicaid funds.

Both state and federal law already prohibit public funds for elective abortions. But in 2012, the Arizona Legislature voted to deny family planning money to Planned Parenthood, saying it amounts to indirect subsidies.

A trial judge and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals both rebuffed that argument. So Attorney General Tom Horne last year appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, attorney Alice Clapman told the justices that since Arizona accepts federal dollars for about 90 percent of family planning costs, the state is bound by federal rules.

“There is no role for them to impose external policy preferences on providers when they have to follow the Medicaid Act,” Clapman said. “The Medicaid Act is clear that patients get to choose their own providers.”

Clapman says an Indiana law similar to Arizona’s failed last year. Horne said Arizona did enter into a contract with the feds, but it was based on a presumption Arizona could choose who gets the funding.