The director of the federal Medicaid program has fired a broadside over efforts in Arizona and other state legislatures to block funding for Planned Parenthood.
Vikki Wachino's Tuesday letter to state Medicaid agencies in all 50 states strongly reminded them that they cannot cut funding to otherwise qualified medical providers just because they might also provide abortion services.
Wachino said the "free choice of provider" provision in federal Medicaid law bars such actions.
The letter comes as the Arizona Senate is poised to vote to require the state's Medicaid plan to exclude abortion providers if they don't fully segregate money they get for covered services.
Rep. Justin Olson says his legislation only provides an enforcement mechanism if a provider breaks current law banning state or federal funding of abortions.