Feds to Halt Funding for Women’s Health Program
by Emily Ramshaw, The Texas Tribune
Federal health officials announced Thursday what state leaders have predicted for weeks: that they are halting funding for Texas’ Women’s Health Program.
Cindy Mann, director of the federal Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said Texas left her agency no other choice by forging ahead with a rule designed to force Planned Parenthood clinics out of the program.
The Obama administration believes Texas’ plan to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program violates a federal law that lets Medicaid patients choose their own providers; the state’s Republican leadership ardently disagrees, and says this is another example of federal overreach into a state decision.
Anticipating that the federal government would turn off the funding tap, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced last week that he would keep the family planning program, which serves more than 100,000 low-income Texas women, in place, at a cost of more than $30 million a year.
It’s still unclear where the state money will come from in a tough budget cycle, but Perry has directed the state’s Health and Human Services Commission to find cost savings or other efficiencies in order to fund the program without adding to Texas’ existing Medicaid shortfall.