But under a state law taking effect Wednesday, Henry and other eligible women won't be able to get care at Planned Parenthood clinics — which treat about 44% of the program's patients — or other facilities with ties to abortion providers, meaning those women will have to find new health-care providers.
The $40 million program is at the center of a faceoff between conservative Republican lawmakers and the federal government, which provides 90% of the program's funding. Although Texas already forbids taxpayer money from going to organizations that provide abortions, the law will cut off clinics with any affiliation to a provider, even if it's just a shared name, employee or board member.
Well, here's a problem. Medicaid funding has some conditions tied to it, and Medicaid funding provides about 90 percent of the baseline funding for the Texas Women's Health Program.
Via Huffington Post:
Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations (CMSO), wrote Texas health officials a letter on Thursday explaining that the state broke federal Medicaid rules by discriminating against qualified family planning providers and thus would be losing the entire program, which provides cancer screenings, contraceptives and basic health care to 130,000 low-income women each year.
"We very much regret the state's decision to implement this rule, which will prevent women enrolled in the program from receiving services from the trusted health care providers they have chosen and relied upon for their care," she wrote. "In light of Texas' actions, CMS is not in a position to extend or renew the current [Medicaid contract]."
The federal government pays for nearly 90 percent of Texas' $40 billion Women's Health Program, and nearly half of the program's providers in Texas are Planned Parenthood clinics. But the new law that went into effect earlier this month disqualified Planned Parenthood from participating in the program because some of its clinics provide abortions, even though no state or federal money can be used to pay for those abortions.
According to Medicaid law, Mann said, a state cannot restrict women's ability to choose a provider simply because that provider offers separate services -- in this case, abortion -- that aren’t even paid for by the Medicaid program.
Way to go, Ranger Rick. After all, they're only women. Right?
Maybe it's just me, but the whole blowup over the Susan G Komen Foundation's actions against Planned Parenthood feel like the precursor to this. It didn't surprise me, for example, to discover the Catholic bishops are behind Nancy Brinker's decision to deny Planned Parenthood any eligibility for future grants.
In the end, women are pawns to bishops and the likes of Rick Perry. Vessels made to bear children and heaven forbid they should refuse to, or decide when they do it. That just won't do. Not at all. So we have the bishops and the teabaggers and Big Pharma and Big Cancer Charities all huddled in a corner figuring out how to shove women back to the dark ages.
This war is only beginning.