A federal watchdog agency has announced it is launching a formal investigation into the business practices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates. The Planned Parenthood
probe is being conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a federal auditing agency that used to be known as the General Accounting Office. The GAO investigates allegations of illegal and improper expenditures of federal funds.
The GAO announcement comes in response to a letter sent to the agency in February by 72 pro-life Congressmen demanding a review of funding allocated to Planned Parenthood and other "family planning" organizations. The Congressional push to examine the books of the abortion industry giant comes in the wake of repeated evidence of fraudulent billing practices by Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country.
The latest episode of calculated financial misconduct in Planned Parenthood's abortion empire occurred in Texas earlier this month. Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast agreed in a federal court settlement to repay a total of $4.3 million in bogus Medicaid reimbursement claims to the state of Texas and the federal government.
Planned Parenthood's fraudulent behavior was exposed by Karen Reynolds, a ten-year employee of the the Gulf Coast affiliate. In her lawsuit, Reynolds revealed that
Planned Parenthood billed the Texas Medicaid program for services that were never provided, for services that were not medically necessary, and for services not covered by the Medicaid program. Reynolds testified that the agency falsified the medical records of patients in order to justify the fabricated reimbursement claims.Senator David Vitter
of Louisiana welcomed the news of the GAO probe. "Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions clearly benefit from Uncle Sam, but there's no accounting to prove how they
actually use that money. This GAO report would shine a light on how our tax dollars are being spent."
"Planned Parenthood performed...almost one million abortions in the past three years," Vitter points out. "At the same time, they received more federal taxpayer dollars than ever before--a record $542 million."
Congressman Pete Olson of Texas says the federal audit of funds appropriated to Planned Parenthood is long overdue. "Despite the best and slickest market branding money can buy, the stubborn fact remains that Planned Parenthood clinics are the most dangerous place on Earth for a child. It is deeply troubling that Planned Parenthood claims direct responsibility for killing over 6 million unborn babies, yet they still receive taxpayer money."
Senator Vitter and Congresswoman Diane Black
of Tennessee are sponsors of legislation to ban federal funding of abortion providers. Known as the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, the bills would ban the allocation of Title X federal "family planning" funds to organizations that perform abortions. While current law prohibits the use of such funds for abortion services, abortion providers like Planned Parenthood inevitably use the federal reimbursements to underwrite their abortion operations.
Allegations that Planned Parenthood has engaged in brazen and bloated abuse of taxpayer dollars have continued to mount, including notable cases here in the Midwest. In neighboring Iowa, the former manager of two Planned Parenthood clinics has filed suit in federal
court claiming that Planned Parenthood filed nearly half a million false Medicaid claims during the last decade, earning the abortion provider $28 million in revenue they were not entitled to.
Sue Thayer states in her lawsuit that Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa collected money for services from low-income patients, yet still billed Medicaid for the full cost of the services. Thayer also charges that the agency billed Medicaid for ten times the actual cost of contraceptive pills. She also says that Planned Parenthood clinics charged off to Medicaid all costs of providing abortions except for the performance of the abortion itself.
A U.S District Judge dismissed Thayer's suit last December, stating that her allegations lacked "specificity." The case is now being appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
In neighboring Illinois, a Medicaid fraud settlement was announced last fall involving the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Dr. Caroline Hoke. The abortion provider agreed to repay the state of Illinois $367,000 in reimbursement claims that were allegedly submitted for services that were never performed. Dr. Hoke received nearly $4 million in payments from the
state over a three-year period for her "family planning services," making her the fourth highest billing physician in the state.
A lawsuit is still pending in federal appeals court in California concerning a massive fraud case brought by a whistleblower there. P. Victor Gonzalez, the former chief financial officer of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, reveals that the organization deliberately inflated reimbursement claims several times over their true cost. An audit by California state officials found that a San Diego Planned Parenthood affiliate overbilled the state by more than $5.2 million.
The colossal amount of government funding Planned Parenthood affiliates receive explains why the
"non-profit" organization is ever so profitable. During its most recent fiscal year on record, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America reported net assets of just over $1 billion. Nearly 51% of the organization's annual revenue came from government health services grants and reimbursements.
Planned Parenthood is anything but non-profit in the salaries it pays its managers. The average salary of its affiliate directors is $159,000 a year, with 30 of the directors making more than $200,000 per year. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards "earns" nearly $400,000 annually.
We want to commend the members of the Missouri Congressional delegation who joined in the call for the investigation of Planned Parenthood by the Government Accountability Office. U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, and Congressmen Billy Long and Blaine Luetkemeyer
were signatories to the letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.
We pray that the day will come when American taxpayers will no longer be fattening the pockets of an organization that makes its living off the barbaric brutality of preborn children.