Not only that, but Billy Milwee, the state’s Medicaid director, promised Texans that by November 1 the state would roll out a new Texas Women’s Health Program that would be totally funded by the state. The move would put Texas as an outlier among states as the battle over health care reform and the relationship between federal and state government intensifies.
The current program which provides low cost cancer screens and family planning services lost federal funding after Republicans in the state passed regulations designed to defund Planned Parenthood, one of the largest WHP recipients in the state.
The new law prohibits any WHP recipient or their affiliates from receiving funding if they perform abortions. Milwee anticipates implementation of the law will mean at least 3 percent of the state’s WHP providers will close and countless numbers of Texans will need to find new providers.
If Texas does manage to find a way to fully fund a public health program for low income women and their families that is also comprehensive and without federal dollars then the entire country should pay attention because that would truly be a public policy miracle.
The good news is for now the health care dollars and facilities remain open. The bad news is the same administration that brought us forced transvaginal ultrasounds is now, allegedly, creating their own version of a comprehensive woman’s health program.
Photo from rcbodden via flickr.