After a lengthy battle, a judge finally blocked Texas from cutting Planned Parenthood funding from Medicaid in February. Then in April, Donald Trump signed a bill that allows states to refuse to reimburse Planned Parenthood with Title X family grant program or Medicaid money. Texas has followed up this win with a request to get back all that federal money they lost under the Obama administration.
The Guardian reports that Texas lawmakers have submitted an appropriations bill to the state Senate projects requesting $90 million in federal funds each year for the fiscal periods of 2018 and 2019. The money would go to the state’s PP replacement, Healthy Texas Woman, which was, according to the Guardian, “the same one the state created after it defied federal laws that prohibit defunding Planned Parenthood.”
This program excludes all abortion providers, and it hasn’t been doing great:
Many public health experts cite evidence that defunding Planned Parenthood was devastating for Texas women. Previously, Planned Parenthood treated nearly 40% of women enrolled in the state’s women’s health program.
“We know public health has deteriorated in Texas. We know fewer women are getting care,” said Dr. Benjamin. “They clearly didn’t get the performance that they got when Planned Parenthood was part of the program.”
The request for money will be directed towards the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the very same center that initially removed federal funding when Texas refused to cover providers at Planned Parenthood. Once again, that federal money was never used for abortions, but for cancer screenings, birth control, and other health services for low-income women.
If the money is approved, this may be a signal to other states who campaign against PP to request money for their own state clinics that exclude abortion, a proposition that is both extremely expensive and likely damaging to women’s health.
Joe Potter, a UT Austin researcher, told the Guardian, “Texas’s experience illuminates what may happen on a larger scale. Each person involved in the program had to go find a new provider. And whether or not the new providers have the training, experience, and bureaucratic set up so women can get care promptly is a big question mark.”