In June, Texas submitted an application to Medicaid to extend eligibility for family planning services, at no cost, to low-income women who don’t have health coverage. It’s called the “Healthy Texas Women” program. Sounds like a good thing, right?
It’s important to remember context here. Texas had cut two-thirds of the state’s family planning budget and ended state funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011. “Healthy Texas Women” restores some of those services, but wouldn’t restore Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide services in the state. Planned Parenthood provides so many vital primary health care services to vulnerable women. Texas has reported that 30,000 fewer women have received birth control, cancer screenings, and other care as a result of its policies. These policies are hardest on people who already face barriers to health care, especially young women, women of color, those who live in rural areas, and women with low incomes. Now Texas lawmakers are looking for federal money to support their unhealthy policies.
Today, I wrote to Medicaid, during the public comment period, to oppose the use of Medicaid funds for “Healthy Texas Women.” The federal government shouldn’t underwrite those kinds of programs.