Women’s Health Care Access in Steady Decline
Health Commission numbers confirm decline in Texas women’s care
By Jordan Smith, Fri., Aug. 9, 2013
As expected, the state-funded Texas Women’s Health Program – designed to preclude women from obtaining services from Planned Parenthood – has at midyear served significantly fewer women than were served by the previous program, which was funded by the federal government and included Planned Parenthood.
As of June 1, the Health and Human Services Commission had processed 79,663 claims for family planning and reproductive health services provided under the TWHP – just 77% of the number processed during the first five months of 2012 (and just 71% of the total claims posted for the same time period in 2012), when the program was known as the Women’s Health Program.
The WHP was originally conceived as a way to provide basic family planning and health services for women who would not be eligible for subsidized care unless pregnant. Under the old WHP, for every $1 invested by Texas, the feds kicked in $9, saving the state millions each of the five years it was operational. Moreover, the WHP was designed to help reduce the costs associated with Medicaid births in Texas. (More than half of all births in Texas are paid for by Medicaid, costing the state some $2.9 billion in 2009 alone.)
Planned Parenthood was the single largest provider under the original WHP, serving more than 40% of the roughly 130,000 women enrolled in a single month. But as part of the coordinated efforts since 2011 (begun years earlier) to deny Texas women the ability to seek care from PP, conservative Texas lawmakers rewrote rules for the WHP in order to exclude PP. That was accomplished by redefining the term “affiliate”: henceforth, all Planned Parenthood family planning clinics would be considered affiliated with clinics that perform abortion – based largely on the fact that they share the same name – though none of the PP clinics that participated in the WHP provide abortion care; and, as a program designed to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the WHP did not cover abortion care.
The change was successful – but violated federal law, and caused the state to lose the 90% federal funding the program had enjoyed.
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2013-08-09/womens-health-care-access-in-steady-decline/
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