One has to hand it to the Guv – he has figured out a way to sign the bill defunding Planned Parenthood while knowing that enforcement of the bill may very well be enjoined. His actions are pure and straightforward manipulation with women as the pawns in his game of presidential chess.
I am sure there are those who will say what an absurd conclusion, but Daniels knows he is already in hot water with the social conservatives. His statement last year that a “truce” on social issues may have to be called infuriated those who pride themselves on stepping into the private lives of individuals – especially in the area of abortion rights. His latest fiasco with defunding Planned Parenthood showcases just what lengths he will go to in order to traverse the maze of earning and keeping support for a presidential bid.
Indiana’s Medicaid program – of which Planned Parenthood is a funding recipient – operates under United States Code Title 42. Public Health and Welfare, and a set of federal regulations called the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.).
Here is the applicable “Free Choice of Providers” section pursuant to the C.F.R.:
§ 431.51 Free choice of providers.
(a) Statutory basis. This section is based on sections 1902(a)(23), 1902(e)(2), and 1915(a) and (b) and 1932(a)(3) of the Act.
(1) Section 1902(a)(23) of the Act provides that recipients may obtain services from any qualified Medicaid provider that undertakes to provide the services to them.
(2) Section 1915(a) of the Act provides that a State shall not be found out of compliance with section 1902(a)(23) solely because it imposes certain specified allowable restrictions on freedom of choice.
(3) Section 1915(b) of the Act authorizes waiver of the section 1902(a)(23) freedom of choice of providers requirement in certain specified circumstances, but not with respect to providers of family planning services.
(4) Section 1902(a)(23) of the Act provides that a recipient enrolled in a primary care case management system or Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) may not be denied freedom of choice of qualified providers of family planning services.
(5) Section 1902(e)(2) of the Act provides that an enrollee who, while completing a minimum enrollment period, is deemed eligible only for services furnished by or through the MCO or PCCM, may, as an exception to the deemed limitation, seek family planning services from any qualified provider.
(6) Section 1932(a) of the Act permits a State to restrict the freedom of choice required by section 1902(a)(23), under specified circumstances, for all services except family planning services.
Here is where Daniels has outdone himself on the backs of women’s healthcare services. Daniels will sign the bill – all the while knowing that he and his Republican minions cannot legitimately restrict freedom of choice – that is pretty plainly set out in the above C.F.R. sections. If the Republicans do this, and it isn’t countered by a lawsuit, Indiana is in jeopardy of losing its Medicaid funding.
But, Daniels knows that Planned Parenthood will file to enjoin enforcement of his signing of the bill – even before the ink is dry. Given the explicit sections above, the court should grant the injunction prohibiting the state from denying funds to Planned Parenthood. I say should since it all depends on how willing the court will be to uphold the federal regulations – states’ rights raising a corollary issue.
This gives Daniels much needed cover with social conservatives, which he desperately needs to rehabilitate his standing in their eyes given his apparent previous willingness to back off social issues. They will be thrilled that he “stood strong and signed the bill”. Daniels, on the other hand, will be patting himself on the back knowing he could sign the bill and toss the ball into Planned Parenthood’s court – literally.
One has to admit his strategy is excellent. Although he won’t ultimately be the nominee – he sure would be following in his old boss’s artful use of manipulation of another issue – WMDs in Iraq – or lack thereof. But what he has really done is manipulate women’s healthcare services to prop up support for his presidential hopes.