Health

Supreme Court Maintains Ruling Against State Law

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5/28/13 — A decision by the United States Supreme Court Tuesday, declining to hear a legal appeal by the State of Indiana against a federal court ruling, prevents enforcement of a state law that disqualified abortion-service providers from getting state Medicaid funds.

Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced the Supreme Court’s decision to decline the case, leaving intact a U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Chicago) ruling to uphold another federal court’s injunction against the law. Zoeller says that law, Indiana’s House Enrolled Act 1210 (HEA 1210), was intended, “to ensure that tax dollars not indirectly subsidize abortion services by funding the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers who also offer Medicaid-covered services.”

Zoeller says as the lawyer for state government in the case Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, No. 12-1039 (U.S.), “My office always contended this is ultimately a dispute between the state and federal government, not between a private medical provider and the state. We defended the legal authority of the people’s elected representatives in the Indiana Legislature to make a public policy decision to ensure that tax dollars not indirectly subsidize abortion services by funding the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers who also offer Medicaid-covered services. We respect the federal courts’ rulings in this matter and will confer with our state agency clients regarding any remaining legal avenues, including the separate administrative appeal of the state’s Medicaid plan.”

With Tuesday’s denial of Indiana’s appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court is allowing lower court rulings to block enforcement of the Medicaid qualification law, HEA 1210, by injunction imposed after its passage by the 2011 Legislature. The Supreme’s Court refusal to review the Seventh Circuit Court ruling keeps its injunction-support ruling intact, and Planned Parenthood of Indiana can collect Medicaid funding as it offers abortion services.

The State, represented by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, filed its petition in February to appeal the Seventh Circuit ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Planned Parenthood also sought conditional Supreme Court review. Zoeller’s office says, separate from the plaintiff’s legal challenge to the constitutionality of the statute, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, had rejected Indiana’s Medicaid plan using provisions of HEA 1210 to prohibit Medicaid funding to abortion providers. The state filed an administrative appeal of the CMS decision with the federal agency, but has yet to receive a final ruling.

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