Texas Planned Parenthood was defunded on January 1st, because the state refused the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court, when making its decisions about Obamacare, made the Medicaid decision up to each state. The Texas State Health Commission conducted a study to see whether or not the state’s other health care providers could absorb the tens of thousands of women that previously went to Planned Parenthood.
The reason for the defunding is simple enough; the right wing has this strange idea that the publicly funded organization, Planned Parenthood, performs abortions. They do not. A privately funded organization with the same name provides abortions. The businesses are related, but not the same. The Planned Parenthood that was defunded in Texas is used to provide basic health care to women at low cost.
Now the real question; can the other providers handle the influx of new patients? The simple answer is no, they cannot. The Dallas Morning News reports:
The survey concludes the results are positive especially in the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Abilene areas; only San Angelo would require more providers. But, results are unclear about the needs of the Paris, Tyler, Corsicana and Waco area because of “Planned Parenthood’s unusual billing practices.”
A Dallas Morning News review of the data for the Dallas-Fort Worth area suggested that there may not be enough providers to serve the 13,000 Planned Parenthood clients.
The report indicates that there is only the capacity to serve 12 new patients in Huntsville, which has about 11,300 women 18 years and older (the WHP is for women aged 18-44 who are at 185 percent of the federal poverty level). But that those women can travel 30 miles to Conroe where doctors can serve 2,265 patients.
Planned Parenthood went to court on Jan. 11 to try and get a temporary injunction hearing, which would have questioned the state’s ability to go without Planned Parenthood. A Texas judge denied the injunction.
The new program, state-run, is called the “Texas Woman’s Health Program,” and it does not provide abortions. The program is supposed to fund around 115,000 women in the state. The program is now entirely state-funded, meaning Texas must absorb the $40 million annual cost. With the federal Medicaid expansion, the federal government would have provided 100% of funding for the next few years, before dropping down to handling 90%.
During the injunction hearing, one Planned Parenthood executive testified that he may have to shut down three of the four clinics he is in control of because of the lack of funding. Republican Governor Rick Perry praised the state’s decision, saying that Planned Parenthood’s fighting of the decision is “nothing more than a desperate move by an organization more concerned with obtaining taxpayer money than with helping women get care.”
The out-of-touch Republican Party and its constituency have now crossed the line from simply declaring a war on women to drawing actual blood — and in terms of injury, that’s likely very accurate. The inability of other health care providers to adequately handle the influx of new patients will result in sub-par health care for at least some women, and making abortions nearly impossible to affordably attain will just increase the number of abortions that are performed unsafely and without regulation.
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