Texas Health Program Served More Low-income Women, But Improvement Since Funding Cuts Is Unclear

AUSTIN — A new report shows more people enrolled in a health program for low-income women in 2017, but it doesn't show if the numbers are an improvement over the years before funding was cut.According to a Texas Health and Human Services Commission report published Thursday, Healthy Texas Women increased its total number of clients served from 70,336 in 2016 to 122,406 in 2017. The Family Planning Program increased its clients from 38,404 in 2016 to 96,990 in 2017. Overall, Texas served 29 percent more women in one year.But because of new methods of gathering data and changes to the programs, it's unclear whether more women are receiving the health care they need."Have we finally climbed out of the hole the state dug in 2011?" asked Stacey Pogue, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. "That's the question we can't answer with that data."In 2011, Texas removed Planned Parenthood from Healthy Texas Women — then known as the Women's Health Program — to keep it from receiving public money. Some of the organization's clinics perform abortions, but they do not use taxpayer money to do so.The move violated a federal law allowing Medicaid users to see the provider of their choice, so the Obama administration took about $30 million from the state. Texas has asked the Trump administration to restore Medicaid funding under a waiver, while allowing the exclusion of Planned Parenthood.In 2011, the Legislature also slashed $73.6 million from the state's $111.5 million family planning budget.  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us