Texas Women’s Health Care Dies Under Perry’s Scalpel

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Posted March 17, 2012 by betty.brink in Blotch

On Thursday, more than
130,000 Texas women faced the unthinkable. They lost access to their primary
care health provider because a small cadre of Republican legislators decided
that “small government” really means small enough to fit into a woman’s womb.

As reported in this
paper last week (War on Women, March 7) Governor Rick Perry stood his ground
(to protect the “unborn”) and let the Medicaid Women’s Health Program – in
place since 2005 – die. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
announced that it could no longer provide the 90 percent annual funding for the
program (approximately $40 million) because Perry and the Republican-led state
lege, in their infinite wisdom as closet gynecologists, have passed a law that
forbids Medicaid funds to go to any women’s health care providers if those
providers are connected in any way to abortion services. The law was aimed
directly at Planned Parenthood, the provider of choice for more than 40 percent
of the low-income women – most of them single mothers – in the program. However,
PP also provides abortion services – legal for the past 38 years – at a small
number of clinics, all private pay. Not one penny of federal dollars goes to
pay for abortions. Read that again. Not. One. Penny.

But because PP provides
abortions, for that reason, and that reason alone, “Doctor” Perry and the newly
crowned medical team of conservative state legislators, have decided that
hundreds of thousands of Texas women now and in the future will no longer have
access to well-women’s services such as contraceptives, screenings for uterine,
cervical, ovarian and breast cancers as well as diabetes, sexually transmitted
diseases and heart problems—all known killers of women. Therefore, in order to
save the “unborn,” as Perry explains his and the legislators’ action, hundreds
of thousands of Texas women will be put at a high risk of dying.

Perry, et.al, are trying
to blame the feds and in particular President Barack Obama, for this mess. But
the Obama administration is simply following the law established years ago by a
bi-partisan congress. The law that established Medicaid also established the
right of those eligible for the program to go to the doctors or clinics of
their choice for health care – as long as those health providers accepted Medicaid,
as Planned Parenthood has always done. The states could not pass laws that
would deny that right. If they did, as Texas and dozens of other states are now
doing, the states would lose the federal funding for their portion of the
Medicaid program. In Texas, for the Women’s Health Program, that translated to
nine dollars of federal money for every one dollar the state contributed. Now
that lucrative stream of money will dry up in three to six months, according to
the feds who have notified the state that it will gradually withhold the funds
over that period of time.

Pressure from women’s
groups across the country have caused the gov to back down a bit, swearing that
he will “find the money” to continue the program with state funds (maintaining
his commitment to make sure Planned Parenthood gets nary a cent.) He hasn’t
said where that money will come from, given the fact that the state has also
cut health funding for other programs by a staggering 66 percent. Non-profit
clinics across the state have closed down because of the cuts. In the Valley
alone, out of more than a dozen non-profit health providers, only two remain
open. In other parts of the state, clinics are closing as well, some in North
Texas and areas of rural West and East Texas where Planned Parenthood is the
only reproductive health provider for the area’s women and men. It is little
known, but PP also provides contraceptives, vasectomies, prostate cancer and
sexually transmitted disease screenings for men.

This is not just a “war
against women” as feminist groups around the country have charged. This is a
war against reproductive health for all Texas citizens.

And this in a state with
some of the highest rates of teen pregnancies, uninsured kids, poor, single
mothers and infant mortalities in the nation.

But not to worry. The
gov and his minions are saving the unborn – even as they deny them and their
mothers the health care they both need to survive once they are born.

 


12 Comments


  1.  
    Dwinna Barker

    Thank you so much, Betty, for fighting the good fight for all of us out here! We all know the truth and so appreciate your attempting to enlighten others, even though that is no easy feat!




  2.  
    Becky

    Good story!
    I went for my annual pap smear the other day and my doctor said all look fine, except for all the Republicans she found in there!




  3.  
    Roy

    It should be unnecessary to say it to the women, to the elderly, to the poor, to the disabled, to the million gays and lesbians in Texas, to the struggling working class parents whose children depend on public education for their very futures, but I will: Vote! Vote as if your life depended on it, because it does.




  4.  
    JN

    It is your Democrat run federal govt which is de-funding the Medicaid program. My understanding is that AG Dewhurst has filed a suit against HHS Secretary Sibellius to get the money back. Just for the record, Texas does not have “one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country” according to the Bureau of Statistics latest figures.




  5.  
    JN

    Oh, did I mention that there are some allegations of Medicaid fraud (here in Texas)..against Planned Parenthood by a former Director? .. also a PP current CEO in West Texas was arrested three days ago for indecent exposure according to CBS news. I am not sure why the Texas Legislature should continue to fund a “provider” under investigation for criminal activities….Just asking, mind you.




  6.  
    Dwinna Barker

    JN, are you and Perry going after the Republican perverts in Congress??? I don’t think you have any room to talk about perverts. I don’t like them, no matter whose label they wear. If this guy is guilty, it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with PP. And, just because an anti-abortion Congressman has made fraud accusations, again, does not make them true!




  7.  
    Holly

    Um, no, actually these women did not lose their healthcare last week. The Fed says they will “phase out” the program, but the Governor and the State Legislature has pledged to keep it running. The truth is that of the 4,600 participating clinics in the state, only 44 were Planned Parenthood facilities. Patients visiting those facilities do not see a doctor unless having an abortion. If they need a doctor, they must be sent to one of those 4,600 other, comprehensive, health clinics. PP has been running a scam here, and is under investigation for Medicaid fraud via this very program.




  8.  
    JN

    Holly, PP and the Obama admin are not the only ones running a scam. Remember the FW WEEKLY story about” MImI the Pitbull Service dog” which was completely concocted by FWW? I think that Betty Brink hasn’t fully checked out her solitary source Ms. Barker and her rather suspicious “story”. Ms. Barker’s incoherent ramblings are sad. It looks like Betty has let Dwinna “twist in the wind.” — Where is whistleblower Bud Kennedy of the FWST when you need him?




  9.  
    shackshark

    Betty and Ms Fluke have a common goal; Screw as much as they want and let the taxpayers pick up the tab.




  10.  
    jovan b.

    Ms. Brink is right — this is Gov. Perry’s fault. Perry, NOT President Obama or Sec Sebilius, VIOLATED the law. Texas law DOES NOT supersede federal law the last time I checked.

    It is the fault of the Texas state legislature 100%. The Texas state legislature is precisely WHY this program is no more.

    Get rid of the legislature and replace them with those who support Planned Parenthood’s work. And then, Texas can get their funding for fiscal year 2014.




  11.  
    JN

    Planned parenthood is allegedly a possible criminal organization under investigation for medicaid fraud. Texas AG Abbott is suing HHS Sibelius for illegaly taking healthcare funds from Texas. Texas taxpayers fund Mediciad. Brink’s and Barker’s stories are full of holes and are not supported by verifiable facts. This “Weekly” has been caught making up “feature stories”by the FWST in the past.




  12.  
    jovan b.

    And NOT JUST TEXAS TAXPAYERS — taxpayers from ALL 50 states do.

    That is why Obama and Sebelius was correct to order the end of the program.

    Texas broke the law. They have to pay the consequences.





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