DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The healthcare future for thousands of low-income women in Texas is uncertain as the federal government phases out its Medicaid funding for the Texas Women’s Health Program over the next three to six months.
Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed legal action against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services challenging the government’s decision to stop federal funding for the Texas Women’s Health Program.
Planned Parenthood, which has served thousands of low income women for years, is worried about how their patients will get cost effective healthcare in the coming years and is urging patients to get healthcare now, before it’s too late.
“We would encourage women to call and see if they can get an appointment to get the healthcare they need before the program ends,” said Kelly Hart, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of North Texas.
Texas law prohibits federal taxpayer dollars to go to healthcare providers who perform abortions. Until now, Texas state funds paid 10 percent of the cost to help low income women get healthcare as part of the Texas Women’s Health Program. Federal funds from Medicaid paid 90 percent of the $40 million price tag.
“We know that there were so many deep cuts to education and social services last session, we’re amazed that he thinks he can find that other 90% when the federal government was willing to pay it,” said Hart.
But Perry supporters like pro-life organization, 40 Days For Life, say he did the right thing.
“I believe that he believes that life begins in the womb and so because of his pro life stance, I support him,” said Lilly Bush.
Perry argued there are more than 2,500 Women’s Health Program providers that don’t perform abortions but Planned Parenthood, which, according to data from Texas Health and Human Services, has seen about 50 percent of the Texas Women’s Health Program patients from 2007-2010, is concerned smaller providers won’t be able to handle the staggering number of patients.
Hart says Planned Parenthood will continue to focus on what their mission, which is to provide preventative healthcare to women.
They plan to look into what their legal options are and say at this point, there are no plans to close an Planned Parenthood facilities.