Feds begin funding cuts to Texas Women's Health Program

Federal officials said they would begin to phase out their 90-percent portion of the Texas Women's Health Program as they had promised to do after Texas lawmakers banned Planned Parenthood from the program. CMS officials said the reductions would be gradual.

The Wall Street Journal: Texas Medicaid Funds Cut Over Planned Parenthood
State legislators have long sought to bar funds for services provided at clinics that also carried out abortions under separate programs. State officials finally moved ahead with new rules this year barring Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions in addition to basic women's health services. Officials at the federal agency charged with overseeing the Medicaid program said the state could not restrict patients' access to particular providers and still receive federal money, and wrote to state officials Thursday to tell them that the agency would stop funding that part of the Medicaid program within months (Radnofsky, 3/15).

Reuters: Government To Shut Down Texas Women's Health Program
The Obama Administration on Thursday said it would begin shutting down a program that provides health care for more than 100,000 low-income women in Texas because the state will not allow funding for clinics that provide abortion services. The move follows an announcement last week by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the federal government would withdraw funding for Texas' "Women's Health Program" after state lawmakers last year enacted the abortion funding prohibition (Forsyth, 3/16).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Feds Drop Texas Women's Health Program
The federal government told Texas today that it would be dropping the state from the Medicaid Women's Health Program. Until now, federal Medicaid dollars had paid for 90 percent of the costs to help poor Texas women get gynecological exams, cancer screenings and contraception. Federal Medicaid director Cindy Mann says Texas will be dropped because Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, insisted on rules that excluded Planned Parenthood from the program (Feibel, 3/15).

Houston Chronicle: Feds Will Phase Out Funds For Women's Health Program
The federal government said Thursday it will phase out funding to Texas for a key women's health program, calling a transition period necessary to ensure that low-income clients don't abruptly lose access to screenings and contraceptives. Money for the Medicaid Women's Health Program is drying up because the state has decided to exclude clinics affiliated with abortion providers, even if the clinics don't provide abortions. The federal government says that's not allowed. The ban notably affects Planned Parenthood (Fikac, 3/15).

The Dallas Morning News: Texas To Lose Millions In Federal Funds For Women's Health Program
Federal Medicaid authorities announced Thursday that Texas' decision to bar Planned Parenthood from state funding has triggered an end to federal money for a widely respected health program that serves 130,000 poor women. The Women's Health Program has been providing cancer screening, diabetes testing and contraceptive services to low-income women since 2006. But the push by Republican state officials to ensure that Planned Parenthood receives no public money means that Texas will forgo the 90 percent of the program's funding that came from Washington (Hoppe and Garrett, 3/15).

The Texas Tribune: Feds to Halt Funding for Women's Health Program
[CMS Director For Medicaid and State Operations Cindy Mann] said CMS will begin a gradual phase-out of the program, so funds won't be cut off immediately. If Texas takes over the program and no women lose services within the next three months, she said, federal support will be terminated. If not, they might extend the support longer (Ramshaw and Tan, 3/15).

Politico Pro: Texas Loses Family Planning Waiver
The Obama administration has officially told Texas it will not renew the state's family planning waiver, since Texas has moved forward with a plan to cut off funding to clinics affiliated with abortion providers. …"We had no choice" but to deny an extension of the Women's Health Program waiver, Cindy Mann, deputy administrator of CMS, said on a conference call with reporters. "Patients, not the state, are able to choose the doctors and health care providers that can best serve them. We had hoped not to get to this point." Mann said Texas was in violation of the federal Medicaid laws and the waiver agreement by picking which clinics could receive the funding. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had said Friday the waiver would not be extended (Nocera, 3/15).

The Associated Press: Feds To Halt Texas Women's Health Program Funding
The federal government on Thursday began making good on its promise to cut off all funding for the Texas Medicaid Women's Health Program amid an escalating fight over the state's ban on funding for clinics affiliated with abortion providers. In a letter to state officials, Cindy Mann, director of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said her agency regretted the move. "We had hoped not to be at this point. But, unfortunately, as we've made clear to the state at all points in this process, we don't have a choice," Mann said on a conference call with reporters after sending the letter (Weissert, 3/15). 

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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