by Steven Ertelt
March 9, 2008
Los Angeles, CA (LifeNews.com) — A former Planned Parenthood official has filed a lawsuit against affiliates in California saying they overcharged the state hundreds of millions of dollars on birth control. P. Victor Gonzalez says the abortion business fired him because he raised concerns about the illegal practices.
Gonzalez says his own internal audit estimates that Planned parenthood overcharged California taxpayers for purchasing birth control by at least $180 million.
He was the vice president of finance and administration for Planned Parenthood of Los Angles and, according to a Los Angeles Times report, the overbilling began in the late 1990s.
While other public health facilities and private facilities charged the state between $8 and $9 for a cycle of birth control pills, Planned Parenthood charged almost $12.
The Planned Parenthood charge to the California government was several times more than it paid for the drugs originally.
That practice occurred until former state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara sponsored legislation allowing Planned Parenthood to charge more based on concerns the abortion business presented her that it would suffer financial problems without it.
However, altering the statute didn’t address the billing practices prior to it and the Times says a 2003 state audit found at least $5.2 million in overbilling in 2003 alone from just one of the nine California Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Gonzalez’s attorney Jack Schuler told the Times that Medi-Cal officials first noticed the problems in 1997 and that Planned Parenthood received two separate letters at that time pointing out the problems.
However, the Times says state officials now say Planned Parenthood was given conflicting information on billing practices. They say Planned Parenthood does not need to repay the millions it overcharged state taxpayers.
Still, Gonzalez want’s the abortion business to be held accountable for firing him for doing his job and pointing out that it was breaking the law.
"Contrary to their national reputation as a prominent charity organization and as a healthcare provider for reproductive services, there is probable cause to believe Planned Parenthood’s … California affiliates have systematically engaged in fraudulent overbilling against government funded programs," the lawsuit says.
The Times indicates Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California spokeswoman Ana Sandoval refused to comment on the lawsuit saying she hadn’t seen it. Though details of it became public only recently after the courts originally sealed it, Gonzales filed the suit three years ago.