To read about our year-end Best of The Florida Independent series, click here. For complete coverage, click here.

The story:

In April, The Florida Independent’s Ashley Lopez broke news about a provision in the state’s Medicaid overhaul that allows providers to opt-out of providing family planning services for “moral or religious reasons.” Months later, Lopez explored whether the provision was legal, examining the claim that if family planning providers cannot afford to participate in Medicaid because of low reimbursement rates, women in the state could be left stranded.

The impact:

In July Planned Parenthood Vice President Judith Selzer penned a letter to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, warning about the provision. Selzer wrote that if the state does allow providers to not offer family planning services, it still must “ensure Medicaid beneficiaries have access” to such care, as mandated by the federal government.

Directly citing Lopez’s reporting, Selzer praised the state agency for telling the Independent that Medicaid recipients should still have access to family planning through “fee-for-service” providers, but pointed out that such rules are not included in the Medicaid legislation, adding that the agency’s plan “should be clearly spelled out.” She also warned that the “fee-for-service” solution may not in fact make up for the family planning opt-out, again echoing Lopez’s reporting on the topic.

To read about our year-end Best of The Florida Independent series, click here. For complete coverage, click here.

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