Five years ago, extreme Republican state legislators gave up $35 million in federal funding. Why? They wanted to kick Planned Parenthood health centers out of Texas and launch the ironically-named, state-run health care program, Healthy Texas Women, instead.
Now, they’re making an unprecedented ask for that federal money back — just so that they can pour more dollars into their dangerous, failing state-run program.
And what’s even more terrifying? The Trump administration gets to decide whether these gynoticians’ wishes are granted, paving the way for other states to copy this dangerous plan.
The devastating impact of Healthy Texas Women
Healthy Texas Women has had shocking repercussions for Texas women. It’s anything but “healthy.” In fact, new research released this week from the Texas-based Center for Public Policy Priorities shows:
- Between 2011 and 2016, the number of women getting health care in the program declined 39 percent.
The number of women accessing contraceptives also dropped sharply by 41 percent.
Counties that lost Planned Parenthood centers saw a reduction of at least 31 percent in the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), like IUDs and birth control shots.
- Meanwhile, the birth rate shot up among former Planned Parenthood patients who relied on birth control shots. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of births from this population increased by 27 percent.
And it gets worse...
- Lawmakers claim Healthy Texas Women gives patients more options. But for each provider added to the program, 10 women lost health care services.
- By 2016, one in four women technically enrolled in Healthy Texas Women was never seen by a health care provider for family planning services.
On top of all this…
- Because of Texas’s policies, 82 women’s health clinics closed or eliminated family planning services — and one-third of them were Planned Parenthood clinics.
TL;DR: The numbers speak for themselves. Healthy Texas Women is a disaster.
How did health care for women in Texas get SO bad?
From 2007 to 2012, Texas had a family planning program called the Women’s Health Program (and later called Healthy Texas Women). This was a Medicaid 1115 family planning waiver program — a type of program that gets funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is the government agency that divvies up Medicaid funds.
Texas got a LOT of federal funding through the waiver. For every $1 Texas spent on the program, the federal government pitched in $9.
In 2011, Texas lawmakers indicated that they wanted to continue the waiver program. But this time, they said they would not “affiliate with entities that perform or promote elective abortions” — aka Planned Parenthood health centers.
The Obama administration denied this request to discriminate against Planned Parenthood health centers and patients because it violated federal law.
So in 2012, extreme lawmakers — led by the anti-women, then-governor Rick Perry — decided to opt out of the 1115 waiver program. And he was willing to give up $35 million in federal funding to do it.
Their new plan? Fund their family planning program with state money instead. This move allowed them to exclude Planned Parenthood and other health care providers that offer safe, legal abortion.
TL;DR: Texas Republican state legislators gave up millions of dollars just to take a hit at Planned Parenthood. And now, they’re asking Trump for that money back.
Now the ball’s in Trump’s court
It’s a truly terrifying thought, but Trump and his cronies — including Tom Price — have the power to grant extreme Texas politicians federal funding for their failing program.
If the Trump administration — which has proved time and time again to be anti-women and anti-women’s health — approves this, it would pave the way for other states to follow Texas and play politics with women’s health.
Texas is failing women. We can’t give them another penny.
You know that phrase “don’t mess with Texas”? Should be more like “don’t mess with Texas women’s basic health care.”