WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW.COM) – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has clarified her comments on the Texas Women’s Health Program.
On Thursday, Texas’ senior U.S. Senator urged Governor Rick Perry to work with President Barack Obama’s administration to restore federal funding for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.
She told MSNBC, “I do think that the Governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so that we can have our share, our fair share.”
Hutchison lost a primary fight to Governor Perry in 2010.
She is retiring at the end of the year.
Governor Perry’s office told the Texas Tribune, “We suspect if the Senator was fully aware of the fact that Obama administration is the one responsible for denying these fundes, she would support working with the Texas (Congressional) delegation and state officials to reverse this misguided decision.”
But on Friday morning, Senator Hutchison clarified her stance.
Her Senate office issued a release stating the Senator sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to help end the dispute between the federal government and Texas.
The federal government denied $34 million in funding for Texas health services for 100,000 low-income women.
Governor Perry said the state would find the money to continue the program.
In her letter, Hutchison told Sebelius, “I am writing to enlist your personal involvement in a dispute between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Texas. Unless federal funding is continued, Texas taxpayers will be asked, in effect, to pay twice to support a singularly successful program.”
Senator Hutchison also said in her letter that some media reports are wrongly depicting the dispute between Texas and the federal government over Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics.
Hutchison told Sebelius she doesn’t support abortion and that she has consistently supported Texas and federal law prohibiting abortion funding.
On Thursday, the Senator told MSNBC, “I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms. They do so much, so much of the healthcare, the preventive health care, and if they’re doing that, then we need to provide those services, absolutely.”
Senator Hutchison’s office said she would be unavailable for an interview Friday.
She summed up her letter to Sebelius saying, “Texas taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay $34 million twice because of political posturing. And needed low-income women’s health services shouldn’t be threatened. It’s time for cooler heads to prevail, and responsibility to taxpayers to be upheld.”
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