130,000 Texas Women
In Texas, Governor Rick Perry and his anti-women’s health cronies are putting their own ideological agendas before women’s health. And they are going to breathtaking lengths to achieve it.
Yesterday, the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner signed a rule that would ban Planned Parenthood health centers from being compensated for providing women’s health care through the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. And, amazingly, 90 cents of every dollar of reimbursement would be from the federal government, not the State of Texas. As a result, nearly 130,000 women will lose access to affordable care. Worse, it will literally result in the end of the entire Medicaid Women’s Health Program in Texas. This is, in a word, unacceptable.
For many women, this is their only source of health care. These health centers are where many low-income women turn for lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive exams. And now they will have nowhere to go.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the decision comes on the heels of a new budget that slashed funding for women’s health by two-thirds. So, in addition to the 180,000 women this yearwho already have been denied access to affordable care under the new Texas budget, Governor Perry thinks so little of providing care that he’s willing to shut down the entire program because of his opposition to abortion. In the last six months, Perry will have cut off access to health care for nearly half a million women with his decisions to slash and defund women’s health programs in the state.
We all know Texans like their football, but now they’re using women’s health as a political football – hundreds of thousands of women are suffering the consequences.
To be clear, the rule isn’t even legal. The federal government, the primary funder of this program requires that Medicaid patients be able to go to the provider of their choice, but the new rule designed by Perry and his anti-women’s health allies will disqualify providers like Planned Parenthood and thus, directly violate federal law. They are willing to throw out the entire state Medicaid program to advance their own agenda.
Unless these politicians can broker a deal in the upcoming weeks, on March 14th the Texas Women’s Health Program will be effectively dismantled.
When you consider the fact that more than one-quarter of Texas women are uninsured and the “Lone Star State” has the third highest rate of cervical cancer in the country, it’s clear women’s health is one of the last things on Perry’s agenda. Once again, he’s putting politics before women’s health. These preventive screenings and affordable health centers matter, but out-of touch anti-women’s, health politicians like Perry don’t seem to care at all.
It’s time to tell these politicians stop messing with women’s health.