On Friday, Arkansas became the fifth state to try to cut off state money by ending its contract with Planned Parenthood for services to residents covered by Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor jointly run by states and the federal government. Arkansas follows Louisiana, Alabama, Utah and New Hampshire. The actions would not take effect until September, pending a period for appeal.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, in his order seeking to break the contract with Planned Parenthood, echoed Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a Republican presidential candidate. “This organization does not represent the values of the people of our state,” he wrote.
This month, the federal government warned Louisiana and Alabama that terminating the contracts would violate federal law, which entitles Medicaid beneficiaries to care from the provider they choose. But Washington’s enforcement power is limited; it is not clear that the states would be moved by a cutoff of their federal Medicaid funds, and such action would penalize beneficiaries.