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Texas Takes Away Health Care From 130,00 Poor Women

Texas Takes Away Health Care From 130,00 Poor Women

Today Texas Republicans effectively killed off one of the state’s most successful public health initiatives as part of the ongoing crusade to strip funds from Planned Parenthood.

The battle has gone down like this. Republicans crafted a new rule that is designed to exclude Planned Parenthood from participation in the Women’s Health Program. The WHP is a Medicaid-waiver program that provides basic healthcare and family planning services to low-income and uninsured women who would not otherwise be eligible for Medicaid unless pregnant. WHP was designed to increase access to preventative health care for women and to reduce the number of births paid by Medicaid.

It’s done both with great success.

Texas currently has about 1,600 WHP providers located across the state and in 2010 Planned Parenthood served 46% of all WHP clients, estimated at more than 84,000 women.

Planned Parenthood effectively provides half of all WHP services across the state of Texas, which is no small service in a state where more than half of all births are paid for Medicaid. In 2007, the first year of the program, the WHP served 91,683 women; by 2010 the program served 183,537 women. Those are women who would otherwise end up on Medicaid because of their pregnancy.

Those gains are now at risk. The rule approved today redefines the word “affiliate” in order to exclude any Planned Parenthood clinic from participation in WHP by defining “affiliate” so that Planned Parenthood clinics that do not perform abortions are considered affiliates of clinics that do, even if that affiliation is nothing more than a shared name.

Planned Parenthood gave the following statement:

“No one’s politics should interfere with a woman’s access to health care.  It is shameful that Governor Perry and Commissioner Suehs continue to politicize lifesaving breast cancer screenings and birth control access for low-income women.

“The State’s actions have put the entire Medicaid Women’s Health Program (WHP) and the health care of 130,000 of our state’s most vulnerable women, many of them single mothers, in serious jeopardy. The federal government has already indicated that if Texas violated Medicaid law, the future of the entire program would be at risk.

“Last year, nearly 17,000 women enrolled in WHP received their annual exams, birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings from trusted providers at PPGC health centers in Houston and Southeast Texas.  Today the State of Texas has taken away their health care and their trusted provider.

“Texas women and Texas taxpayers need this program. The Medicaid Women’s Health Program saves lives, prevents unintended pregnancies and saves taxpayer dollars. For many women, Medicaid WHP is their only source of health care. Texas already leads the nation in the number of uninsured families.  Now Perry’s most recent move to adopt this rule means that 130,000 additional Texas women stand to lose access to basic, lifesaving care that helps them stay healthy and plan their pregnancies, and taxpayers will be left footing the bill for millions of dollars in ballooning Medicaid costs related to the loss of this program.

“This move is not supported by the medical community, as Bruce Malone, President of the Texas Medical Association, has publicly called this a “political” move, noting there is not “another safety net for these women for medical care.”  [Texas Tribune, January 2012]

“Playing politics with the lives and health of Texas women is unacceptable. Planned Parenthood is committed to the health of Texas women and is evaluating all possible actions to protect this essential program and health care access for the 130,000 women who rely on it.”

Texas believes it has the authority to do this as part of its management of its Medicaid program. But the federal government, which runs Medicaid disagrees and told Texas this rule would not meet requirements for funding, which means a loss in $40 million per-year.

Unless some last-minute agreement is worked out the program will either be phased out or cut off by the end of March. This means at least 130,000 poor Texas women will lose access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams and contraception all to satisfy the conservative vendetta against Planned Parenthood.

Related Stories:

Fifth Circuit: Texas Sonogram Bill Should Be Enforced

Planned Parenthood Sues Tennessee To Restore Grant Funding

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Photo from badlyricpolice via flickr.

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245 comments

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2:25PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

thank you.

8:41PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Thank you for article.

8:47AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

To The backward Religious people of Texas:

Your heart warming empathy for poor women is non-existent, I for one do not know how you ignorant rednecks can look in the mirror.

But if you'll believe in Bronze age mythology, you'll believe your hatred and intolerant bigotry is what your God wants.

The only State that is more ignorant than Texas is Mississippi, ya'll should be proud.

8:47AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

To The backward Religious people of Texas:

Your heart warming empathy for poor women is non-existent, I for one do not know how you ignorant rednecks can look in the mirror.

But if you'll believe in Bronze age mythology, you'll believe your hatred and intolerant bigotry is what your God wants.

The only State that is more ignorant than Texas is Mississippi, ya'll should be proud.

8:42PM PDT on Apr 26, 2012

Planned Parenthood promotes as acceptable the brutal dismembering of children, limb, by limb, as they scream in terror, within the sanctuary of their own mother's womb. Without legal defense, anesthetic, judge, jury or trial.

These poor souls suffer even the indignity of being discarded to a trash heap - they receive not even the honour of an unknown grave. This injustice is not tolerated for the corpses of criminals after punishment for their crimes.

This is absolutely horrendous (even worse perhaps is the willing blindness which fails to perceive their agenda).

All while promoting the deception that it is perfectly acceptable to do so and disseminating disparaging myths about those who would stand in their way.

Finally, as if this was not enough, they promote eugenics and promiscuity and all manner of living which is contrary to the survival of our race in favour of other species.

In my view, any good that they do provide to society (if any) is but a meticulously disguised front to assist in their devious agenda.

Who, in good, well informed conscience, could support them?

9:56AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

This does sound like a vendetta against Planned Parenthood.

1:22AM PST on Mar 4, 2012

Thanks for the article.

3:12AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Didn't you hear? The paleoconservatives are going to adopt all of them, so that they too can become part of the 1%. :lol:

3:02AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Planned Parenthood effectively provides half of all WHP services across the state of Texas, which is no small service in a state where more than half of all births are paid for Medicaid.

If they can't afford the pregnancy, how do they plan on raising the kid without handouts?

11:11PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Damien C. said "This headline is hilarious and an example of the desperate attempt to protect Planned Parenthood instead of protecting women."

You too employ Newspeak.

Shame that you are so narrow minded.

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