Court Gets Brief in Planned Parenthood $180 Million Birth Control Fraud Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit received legal papers from the American Center for Law and Justice today. They concern a case in which a former vice president of a Planned Parenthood abortion business affiliate in California has accused it of defrauding the state. P. Victor Gonzalez says the abortion business fired him because he raised concerns about illegal practices of overcharging the state. The former Planned Parenthood official filed a lawsuit in March 2008 against affiliates in California saying they overcharged the state hundreds of millions of dollars on birth control. In January, a federal district court judge dismissed the case and Gonzalez filed an appeal. Now, the ACLJ, a pro-life legal group, filed a brief with the appeals court representing the federal whistleblower. The papers note that the federal False Claims Act (FCA) forbids government contractors from submitting “false or fraudulent” claims for payment. The FCA also authorizes private individuals to bring suit against the offenders to recover the fraudulently obtained funds. “Nationally, Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar operation. Now, it looks like they’ve been soaking the taxpayers even beyond the legal limits,” said Jay Sekulow, ACLJ Chief Counsel. “The False Claims Act provides an important weapon in rectifying illegal runs on taxpayer dollars.” Gonzalez alleges that Planned Parenthood affiliates in California illegally marked up the supposed cost of various birth control drugs when seeking government reimbursement, resulting in tens of millions of dollars of overbilling – at taxpayer expense. Gonzalez says his own internal audit estimates that Planned Parenthood overcharged California taxpayers for purchasing birth control by at least $180 million. He was...

Planned Parenthood Under Investigation for Fraud

More than 50 members of Congress have asked the Health and Human Services Secretary to conduct an audit of Planned Parenthood over allegations that the abortion provider has overbilled the federal government. The request for the audit was initially made by a coalition of faith-based groups, including the American Family Association. Planned Parenthood receives federal funding through the Title X Family Planning Program, a 90-percent Medicaid match for family planning, and a federal program to purchase drugs from manufacturers at a reduced price. Four years ago, state auditors in California began reviewing Planned Parenthood affiliates, but the audit was stopped after only one review was completed. That review found that Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside counties overbilled the government more than $5.2 million. Ray Ruddy, president of Gerard Health Foundation, is leading the call for a federal investigation. He says, unlike other federal contractors, Planned Parenthood does not have to bill the government at cost, but is able to bill at what they call “normal and customary rates.” “Let’s say, right now, everybody bills the federal government at their cost, plus eight percent. Most vendors, …whether they’re wholesalers or retailers, actually bill out and mark up their stuff anywhere between 50 and 100 percent,” Ruddy explains. “If you take everybody who’s billing the federal government and they start to mark up their stuff, their materials they provide, by 50-to-100 percent — I have not even begun to make a calculation of that, but I bet that would be in the billions of dollars.” Ruddy also alleges that officials in California redefined the term “at cost” to validate...