After being sued by Texas to recoup millions of dollars in state Medicaid funds, Planned Parenthood is suing to have a federal fraud enforcement law overturned.
Reuters reported that Planned Parenthood filed suit with a federal court in Amarillo, Texas, claiming that a provision of the False Claims Act (FCA), allowing private citizens to act as whistleblowers, should be removed.
Currently, a whistleblower, also called a relator, can sue under the FCA, and the government can then decide whether or not to investigate. If they do, and the case is successful, the relator can receive a portion of the funds recovered. “In fact, FCA relators are not ‘appointed’ to their positions by anyone other than themselves,” Planned Parenthood said.
As Forbes reported, an anonymous whistleblower alleged that Planned Parenthood had defrauded the state Medicaid program of $10 million. The relator, known only as Alex Doe, claimed that Planned Parenthood knowingly violated the FCA after they were removed as a state provider — and Attorney General Ken Paxton agrees.
Last month, the state of Texas began the process of attempting to recover Medicaid funds which it says Planned Parenthood was not entitled to. After videos were released by the Center for Medical Progress purportedly showing that some Planned Parenthood affiliates and employees were participating in the illegal trafficking of aborted body parts, Texas filed to have them removed as a Medicaid provider. Paxton sought to get the funds they received during the legal battle returned, saying they should have known not to accept it.
“It is unthinkable that Planned Parenthood would continue to take advantage of funding knowing they were not entitled to keep it,” he said in a previous statement. “I will not allow them to benefit from this abhorrent conduct after they were caught violating medical standards and lying to law enforcement.”
Additionally, Planned Parenthood was fined in 2013 for intentionally overbilling Medicaid. “Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast improperly billed the Texas Medicaid program for products and services that were never actually rendered, not medically necessary, and were not covered by the Medicaid program – and were therefore not eligible for reimbursement,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement at the time.
Numerous other Planned Parenthood affiliates have also been caught committing Medicaid fraud — raising the question if Planned Parenthood’s current lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to make it harder for their financial crimes to be discovered.