Congress Urged to Move Ahead Now on Planned Parenthood Probe

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 9, 2012   |   5:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a pro-life republican from Tennessee, sent a letter to pro-life Speaker John Boehner today urging him to have the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations move forward now with hearings on Planned Parenthood.

Last year, a Congressional committee took the first steps in investigating the Planned Parenthood abortion business over abuses ranging from financial disparities to its compliance with federal regulations on taxpayer funding to concerns that it is covering up cases of sex trafficking.

In a September 15 letter obtained, Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, writes to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.

Now, with the battle between Komen and Planned Parenthood from last week freshly in the rear-view mirror, Blackburn says Congress must move forward now to look further into the dealings of the abortion business.

“If Planned Parenthood is defrauding the Treasury to meet its abortion quota, then the American people deserve answers in an open and transparent series of congressional hearings,” Blackburn said. “Congress needs to take leadership now. House Republicans shouldn’t settle for inaction in the face of injustice.”

Blackburn also refers to recent information released by the Alliance Defense Fund and the Susan B. Anthony List showing more examples of fraud and abuse from Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide in terms of misusing taxpayer funds.

The report indicates more Planned Parenthood affiliates have engaged in fraud than the ones that have already become public knowledge and part of an investigation of the abortion business by Congress. The billing violations include billing in excess of actual acquisition cost or other statutorily approved cost of contraceptives and Plan B products as well as inappropriately billing for services that were not medically necessary, billing for multiple initial prenatal care visits, and incorrectly billing initial, follow-up, and postpartum services.

The ADF report found:

* Federal and state audits of family planning funding have found a minimum of $95,742,982.15 in waste, abuse, and potential fraud from 1995 to 2009;

* Of this waste, abuse, and potential fraud, at least $7,867,547.15 has been identified in separate state audits to have occurred in a total of seven audited Planned Parenthood affiliates in New York state, California, Washington state, and Texas due to a variety of abuses, including extensive overbilling and illegal billing for abortion-related procedures that are ineligible for government reimbursement under federal laws, including the Hyde Amendment;

* These audited amounts include both state and federal funds under the various matching formulas for these programs;

* In addition, federal audits of family planning programs from 1995 to 2009 have identified a total of nearly $88 million in overbilling, with the sum rising as high as $99 million according to the Inspector General’s Office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;

* Of the 38 federal family planning audits covering federal funding streams and 19 states, two audits, in New Jersey and New York, specifically identified Planned Parenthood, and only Planned Parenthood, as a source of overbilling in the family planning programs. The combined waste in these two audits alone was $1,516,312.

* All told, extensive waste, abuse, and potential fraud have been identified to date in 9 percent of Planned Parenthood’s 79 U.S. affiliates. Two others,
one in Texas and one in California, are the subject of federal whistleblower lawsuits by former Planned Parenthood employees alleging fraud;

Stearn’s pre-investigation letter requests any information related to improper billing related to federally-funded programs, proof that federal funds are not being improperly used to pay for abortions by PPFA or its affiliates, audits by state agencies of any Planned Parenthood affiliate, and documentation of how many affiliates currently receive Title X family planning funding.

The Stearns letter also requests documents on standards and practices related to billing issues, written policies and procedures, and it requests information on how the abortion giant keeps its family planning abortion monies separate and segregated.

The abortion business responded on Twitter, saying, “Stearns is misusing his position to attack Planned Parenthood & women’s health care.”

“Planned Parenthood is a trusted nonprofit health care provider that provides professional, reliable and quality health care, including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment to three million women and men across the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  “This politically motivated investigation is a continuation of the efforts of earlier this year to undermine Planned Parenthood, and more disturbingly, women’s access to the primary and preventive care they need.”

Richards said the abortion business has “a strong record of fiscal responsibility and have, always complied with all laws and regulations applicable to the receipt and use of federal funds.”

Planned Parenthood has come under heavy criticism in recent years for covering up cases of statutory rape by failing to report abortions done on unborn children of teen girls who have been victimized to authorities and by aiding and assisting alleged sex traffickers in obtaining abortions and other “services” for the women and girls they victimize. As such, as the Stearns letter asks for information related to those concerns.