When Louisiana state officials announced their plans to terminate Planned Parenthood’s state Medicaid contract in late August, they argued that there were plenty of doctors who could take on the more than 5200 patients the reproductive health organisation sees each year in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
They even provided a list of those doctors to the US District Court when Planned Parenthood filed suit against the state (Planned Parenthood argues that breaking the contract is a violation of federal law). It’s an impressive 37 pages long, including 1146 Medicaid providers near New Orleans and 864 near Baton Rouge.
But actually reading their list reveals that very few of those doctors are qualified to give pelvic exams, provide contraceptives, or administer screenings for STDs or breast and cervical cancer. The list is actually of every provider who takes Medicaid in the region — including dentists, anesthesiologists, eye doctors, radiologists, cardiologists, pharmacies, and nursing homes.
The Hon. John W. DeGravelles, who will decide whether it is legal for the state to break their contract with Planned Parenthood, was not amused. From the court transcript of September 2, 2015:
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals submitted a revised list of providers on September 8. This list is much shorter. It includes just 29 providers, 24 of which provide the same range of services as Planned Parenthood. Only five providers are in Baton Rouge; two have three-week waits for new patients, and one is not accepting new patients.
DeGravelles is expected to rule on the case September 15th.