Governor Rick Perry wrote an Editorial about the refusal of the Medicaid waiver for our Women’s Health Program by the Obama Administration. While it appears that very few news organizations actually print the op-ed, many have published their own, and a few reference the Governor’s essay. (A search at Google News on “Women’s Health Program” yields about 100 media posts, more blogs.)
Once again, the comments from the media and readers are derogatory, don’t contain the facts, and very critical of all of us “anti-abortion idiots” (per one commenter at Texas Tribune).
Texas has had law limiting the distribution of Medicaid and the Woman’s Health Program funds to those who perform, refer to, or affiliate with abortion providers for years, and received waivers in the past – even from this Administration – under this law.
The real difference is that this year, the Legislature prioritized funds to providers who provide comprehensive, continuing care at Federal, State, local, and County health clinics.
Yes, there was a renewal of the ban on abortion providers, although PP itself was never mentioned. And, yes, the Attorney General has clarified the meaning of “affiliate.”
However, while a nice side benefit, PP wasn’t excluded because they are PP. They were excluded because the State had to prioritize our funds and PP doesn’t offer comprehensive continuing care. They don’t treat high blood pressure, but Federally Qualified Health Centers do. They don’t treat diabetes, but the health clinic run by the county does. They don’t even write orders for mammograms, they just have a list of clinics that do.
In the last few months, the State has already made contracts and arrangements with other providers for a more efficient use of the limited funds we have. If access is cut, it won’t be for a lack of doctors and clinics – it will be because the Obama Administration doesn’t like the way our Legislature decided to prioritize the funds.
There is no federal law that says that Texas has to make contracts with anyone and everyone. As pointed out by the Governor and in this fantastic letter from the Executive Commissioner of the State Department of Human Services, Tom Suehs, the Social Security Act specifically gives the right to the State Legislatures set preconditions for contracting with the State to provide Medicaid.
Since PP only provides a narrow range of care, they don’t qualify – even though they aren’t mentioned in the law. They don’t treat high blood pressure or diabetes, or even do mammograms.
However, the Obama admin – and all those hateful commenters and editorializers – choose to focus on only one “provider.” The same organization that had 4 illegal abortion clinics shut down in San Antonio. The one that gives directions to facilities that do mammograms, but doesn’t even write prescriptions or give orders for the mammogram lab. The one that Texas is finding surprisingly easy to replace.
Now, our limited State tax dollars will go to Women’s Health Program doctors and clinics where they can receive treatment after being screened.