CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has joined a 15-state coalition in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear and ultimately protect the right of individual states to defund Planned Parenthood and other medical providers for purposes of their Medicaid programs.
The friend of the court brief, filed April 23, argues federal law does not give the individual patient or medical provider a right to challenge a state’s disqualification of certain medical providers from its Medicaid program.
“Federal law provides each state the ability to set the terms of eligibility for its Medicaid program,” Morrisey said. “It was not Congress’ intent to allow individual patients or health care providers, such as Planned Parenthood, to make such determinations. Protecting the states’ role ensures such decisions are made by a politically accountable body.”
Morrisey's office says the Medicaid Act’s federal-state contract empowers the states – not federal courts – to determine which healthcare providers are eligible.
The coalition argues that Medicaid plan requirements, including the provider-choice provision, are part of an agreement between the federal government and the states, not as individually enforceable rights. The coalition writes that it is not the role of the individual health care provider or the patient to second guess the qualifications of a state’s Medicaid program in court.
A Supreme Court decision is needed to resolve a divide between the nation’s circuit courts as to whether the Medicaid provider-choice provision allows patients to challenge a state’s decision to terminate health care providers’ Medicaid agreements.
West Virginia joined the Indiana-led brief with Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.