Planned Parenthood Accused of Overcharging Govt by Millions, Probe Sought
by Steven Ertelt
September 29, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The head of a pro-life philanthropic firm is calling for a federal government probe of Planned Parenthood. The call for an investigation comes after Planned Parenthood affiliates in California were accused of overcharging the state by millions for birth control.
The accusation came in March, when P. Victor Gonzalez, a former Planned Parenthood official, filed a lawsuit against its affiliates in California saying they overcharged the state hundreds of millions of dollars on birth control.
Gonzalez says his own internal audit estimates that Planned Parenthood overcharged California taxpayers for purchasing birth control by at least $180 million.
Gonzalez says the abortion business fired him because he raised concerns about the illegal practices.
Ray Ruddy, president of Gerard Health Foundation, has issued the call for the investigation.
He points out how the abortion business receives federal family planning funding through Title X, a 90 percent Medicaid match, as well as monies from the federal government to purchase drugs at reduced costs.
"Everybody, since Revolutionary times, has been billing the federal government at the cost — that is the invoice cost to them, plus a fee," Ruddy told OneNewsNow. Planned Parenthood in California — and we suspect others across the country — has been billing at what they call their normal and customary rates."
Ruddy told the news site that he has written to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt asking for a federal audit of Planned Parenthood and has filed suit seeking help from the courts.
"It looks to us, very much, that we found there are a separate set of rules for Planned Parenthood than the rest of us — and there should not be. That’s why the lawsuit was filed," he told the news site. "Hopefully the court will act on this, and everybody should be operating under the same set of rules."
Looking at the California situation, Gonzalez 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.
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