The Houston Chronicle article (not available when I wrote this earlier post) implies that the ruling from CMS is much more far-reaching than I’d thought. Our laws prohibiting State funds going to anyone who provides abortions may be overturned. This looks like it goes farther than simply disapproving of the priorities we placed on allocating our funds. It appears that Obama has decided that we can’t continue to make recipients of Texas funds sign a contract to not perform or refer for abortions.
If this is true, women can get prenatal care and teen girls can get their vaccinations in the same building where their neighbor is having her unborn baby killed! Or Texas can refuse Medicaid funds.
Texas will no longer be allowed to prohibit Medicaid recipients from receiving care at family planning clinics that perform abortions, the federal government informed the state Monday.
Arguing that the Social Security Act prohibits states from excluding such clinics, the federal agency that runs the program informed Texas that next year it will not approve an agreement like the one now in place in Texas.
“The issue is … whether a state can restrict access to a qualified health provider simply because they provide other services Medicaid doesn’t pay for,” Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said in a phone interview with reporters. “The law does not permit this.”
Mann stressed that Medicaid “does not pay for abortions and will not pay for abortions.” She said the agency will extend Texas’ current agreement through March while negotiating a new one.
In a statement, Gov. Rick Perry responded that President Barack Obama is making women “pay the price for its pro-abortion agenda.”
“I am concerned the Obama Administration is playing politics by holding women’s health care hostage because of Texas’ pro-life policies, sacrificing the health of millions of Texas women,” said Perry.
Since 2006, Texas has provided low-income women 18 to 44 with family planning exams, related health screenings and birth control through the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. Last year, it provided services to more than 180,000 women, with 90 percent of its funds coming from the federal government and the rest from the state.