Wyoming to lose only Planned Parenthood clinic

Cameron Gross
May 17, 2017

If he does agree to restore Medicaid funds for Texas' family-planning program, other states led by anti-abortion elected officials will surely follow suit and cut Medicaid patients off from the care they've been receiving from Planned Parenthood's health centers. Now facing a $2 billion budget shortfall, Texas is looking for ways to reduce spending. The state on Friday posted a draft Medicaid waiver seeking up to $300 million in federal funds to continue Healthy Texas Women for another five years through 2023. Texas reportedly lost out on $35 million per year because of the cut. Now four years after the state lost federal funding for nixing the controversial health provider from the program, the state's health agency says it's been "encouraged" to seek funding again under Trump. Of the more than 74 million people on Medicaid, almost 17 million are non-elderly women who depend on Planned Parenthood as their primary source of essential healthcare. State and federal law already prevented taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortion. "There have been many statements out of this administration about its hostility toward Planned Parenthood", said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion policy research center, in an interview with the New York Times "So this move by Texas is really testing all of that". Prohibiting willing providers from seeing Medicaid patients is prohibited by federal law, but state officials are hopeful the CMS under Trump will allow it to test this new family planning vision.

"The waiver is sort of a mechanism to have this program to be recognized and draw down federal funds for it", explained Michael Ghasemi of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, during a Women's Health Advisory Committee meeting Monday. Patients relying on Planned Parenthood or those with doctors who are affiliated with any provider that supports or performs abortions could find themselves displaced if Texas and similar states are granted this kind of Medicaid waiver.

"A strong Healthy Texas Women program should include Planned Parenthood, and I'm asking the state to choose the health of Texas women, which it has a duty to protect, over scoring political points", Murrillo said. "It's about funding, not about changing the program".

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As an abortion provider, Planned Parenthood has long attracted criticism and calls to shut off Medicaid reimbursement for other women's health care offered at its clinics.

In addition to banning Planned Parenthood as a provider, the Healthy Texas Women program requires minors to have parental consent for contraceptives. "TMA wants to preserve state capacity to serve women in need". Texas is hoping that Trump, who once made the laughably daft suggestion that Planned Parenthood stop performing abortions in exchange for keeping its Medicaid patients, will show about as much deference to this longstanding rule as he has to other health-care protections for low-income Americans. "My sense is that Texas will be able to demonstrate adequate access to care". The number of women dying during or shortly after childbirth also doubled. They worry other conservative states will also try blocking Planned Parenthood funding if the waiver is granted.

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