News Contraception

Texas Women’s Health Program Stays Fully Funded, But Will Women Still Have Easy Access?

Robin Marty

The good news is that the program still has all of its funds until November.  But does that do any good if women can't use their usual providers?

Texas has been striving to prove that their conservative lawmakers’ ideological battle with Planned Parenthood isn’t affecting the poor women in the state.  To that end, they have now announced that the Women’s Health Program, a Medicaid-backed fund for low income and uninsured women in the state, will remain fully funded until November of 2012, and at that point Texas will then take over the program with state dollars only.

The program may see no lapse in funding, but does that mean that women won’t still suffer from lack of care?  According to KERA News:

Billy Milwee, the state’s Medicaid director, told a Dallas town hall meeting on federal healthcare reform those women will continue to receive those services.

Milwee: We’re going to continue without our current program through the end of October and the first of November we stand up a Texas Women’s Health Program, which is totally funded by the state. It won’t have a federal contribution.

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Milwee says they are enforcing the state law banning Planned Parenthood and others starting May first. He expects about 3 percent of all statewide Women’ Health Program providers will be removed from the program. And he says that could mean an adjustment for some patients.

Milwee: They may have to find a new provider. We’ll help them do that. But, the services will continue.

As Andrea Grimes reports, that means over 50,000 patients will be looking for new providers in just a matter of two weeks. With tens of thousands of patients seeking out new providers in what has already proven to be an overburdened state health care system, it won’t take long for the effects of the state ban to be seen.

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