LITTLE ROCK — After meeting Friday with representatives of Planned Parenthood, state Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford said no decision has yet been made on whether to award a state contract to the organization to provide guides to help people obtain federally subsidized health insurance.
The department has deferred action on Planned Parenthood’s application for a contract because some state legislators have objected to the nonprofit organization being awarded a contract. The organization provides abortions and other health services.
"Some people are concerned because they think that this might promote some link to the abortion issue," Bradford said.
Bradford said Planned Parenthood representatives told him Friday that "they just want to add these guides as temporary employees to counsel with their client base … on the process to get on the federal exchange" and that the services the organization would provide under the contract would have "nothing to do" with abortion.
"They’re going to send me information and documentation of that," he said. "I have not committed to go forward with this. I’ve just committed to listen it out and to get some additional information."
If a contract is awarded, it would be subject to legislative review, Bradford said.
The Christian conservative Family Council weighed in on the issue on Thursday, issuing a statement calling on the Insurance Department to deny a contract to Planned Parenthood and to issue contracts only to "non-controversial groups."
The Insurance Department has awarded contracts to 27 other entities to provide guides. Enrollment in the exchange begins Oct. 1.