Jan 14, 2020 12:00 AM

Planned Parenthood in Kansas challenges payment cutoff

Posted Jan 14, 2020 12:00 AM
Planned Parenthood in Overland Park -photo Kansas News Service
Planned Parenthood in Overland Park -photo Kansas News Service

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Planned Parenthood is challenging Missouri's denial of claims for Medicaid payments for a second time in two years.

Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in Overland Park, Kansas, appealed Missouri's cutoff of their fiscal 2020 funding last week in Jackson County, Missouri, after an administrative law judge ruled against them last month.

Meanwhile, an appeal of the cutoff of 2019 funding is pending before the Missouri Supreme Court.

“It’s kind of a continuation of the same old song and dance,” said Charles Hatfield, Planned Parenthood’s attorney.

Republican lawmakers in Missouri have for years sought to stop any taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood, even clinics that do not provide abortions.

But legislators struggled with “loopholes" that allowed Planned Parenthood clinics that provide other healthcare to continue receiving funding. Abortion opponents finally succeeded by blocking money to any facility affiliated with others that perform abortions.

Lawmakers were able to stop money from going to Planned Parenthood by forgoing some federal funding to avoid requirements that the clinics be reimbursed if low-income patients go there for birth control, cancer screenings and other preventative care. Missouri instead now uses state money to pay for those services.

Planned Parenthood argues that some of its chapters provide preventative health care and not abortion, and therefore shouldn't be financially penalized.

In all, the state has withheld roughly $1 million from Planned Parenthood over the past two fiscal years.

Planned Parenthood has 12 clinics in Missouri, but only one of them performs abortions. That St. Louis clinic is the state's only remaining abortion clinic and is in a battle with state regulators over its license. No ruling on the license is expected before late February.

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Jan 14, 2020 12:00 AM
Kansas Farm Bureau Insight: Stronger together

By GLENN BRUNKOW, Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher

We have flipped the calendar to a new year, and that also means the “silly season” of politics is starting in earnest. This year promises to be an even sillier year than most because of state and national elections.

More than just about any year I can remember, there is more at stake for our nation, state and, most importantly, for rural Kansas.

Increasingly we are seeing our population drop in most of rural Kansas, which means our political influence also is shrinking. We are seeing a shift of political power swing to more populated portions of the state. This could spell trouble for agriculture as many of those in more urban areas are more removed from agriculture and often don’t fully understand our point of view or how issues affect us.

That is why it is so important for us to tell our side of the story, for us to let our views and stances on critical issues be known. If we don’t advocate for ourselves no one else will, and our interests will be forgotten.I know many of you are like me. I feel like I am so bogged down in my day-to-day activities and work that I don’t have time to get involved. It is hard to know how to make your opinion heard and even harder to know how to make your vote count. It seems awfully lonely out here in rural Kansas and in agriculture.

I agree — it is hard to make your voice heard as a lone citizen. It is possible, and it is something we should not ignore. But often a lone voice is not very effective. That is why being a member of Kansas Farm Bureau is so critical for all of us in agriculture. It is a way for us to combine our voices and make them louder.

When we come together as a group, we magnify our power and influence. However, this does not lessen the importance of each one of us or our individual influence over our own elected officials. That is why it is also important to not only join Kansas Farm Bureau but to be an active member. In the coming weeks and months we will have an opportunity to voice our opinion and to help educate and influence our elected officials. Through the elections we will also have the chance to decide who many of those officials are.

I ask that you take the time to find out how you can be an active part in the efforts of our Kansas Farm Bureau. Sign up for alerts and contact your elected officials. Kansas Farm Bureau is the most influential farm organization in our state, and that is because we are a grassroots organization of farmers and ranchers who band together for a stronger, louder voice.

"Insight" is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state's largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.