Planned Parenthood submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursement” to the state of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services, according to a federal lawsuit made public Tuesday. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed the lawsuit in July 2011 on behalf of Jonathan Bloedow, a Washington resident who discovered the alleged frauds through state open records requests.
“Americans deserve to know, especially in economic times like these, if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it,” said Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton, a former U.S. Attorney. “Compliance with the law should not be sacrificed for the sake of Planned Parenthood’s bottom line. They have cheated the American taxpayer for too long. It’s time the abortion giant is held accountable.”
Federal law allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors. By law, such cases must initially be filed under seal and may not be made public while federal authorities decide whether to join the case.
Bloedow has sued under the federal False Claims Act. The suit alleges that Planned Parenthood submitted false claims to Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services and its Health and Recovery Services Administration. HRSA runs the state’s Title XIX Medicaid program.
The lawsuit alleges that Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest filed at least 25,000 false claims with HRSA for reimbursements in excess of the amount allowed for oral contraceptive pills and at least another 25,000 for reimbursements in excess of the amount allowed for “emergency contraceptive” (“Plan B”) pills under the federal government’s 340B drug reimbursement program. Total damages could be as much as $377,134,130.
The allegations of Bloedow’s complaint are consistent with a 2011 Government Accountability Office report that concluded that HRSA monitoring of the 340B program was inadequate and recommended that “HRSA take steps to strengthen oversight regarding program participation and compliance with program requirements.”
Alliance Defending Freedom has filed two prior False Claims Act lawsuits, Johnson v. Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas and Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Bloedow v. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
In 2012, Alliance Defending Freedom publicly released its report to Congress that identified nearly $100 million in waste, abuse and potential fraud committed by Planned Parenthood affiliates and other providers. Seventy-two Members of Congress, led by Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee and Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, continue to press for the investigation of how Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest purveyor of abortions, has spent more than $2.3 billion of federal taxpayer dollars over the last few years.