Texas’ Med­i­caid waiver could be ‘ca­nary in the coal mine’ on abor­tion fund­ing carve-outs

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Vir­gil Dickson

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion will soon re­view Texas’ pro­posed plan to re­gain $300 mil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing for its fam­ily plan­ning pro­gram that does not in­clude Planned Par­ent­hood or providers that sup­port or per­form abor­tions.

If the CMS ap­proves the waiver, other states could seek sim­i­lar per­mis­sions and risk mil­lions los­ing ac­cess to care.

Texas lost fed­eral fund­ing for its fam­ily plan­ning pro­gram known as Healthy Texas Women in 2013 af­ter it stopped re­im­burs­ing for ser­vices per­formed at Planned Par­ent­hood. Since then, the pro­gram has been to­tally state-funded.

If the waiver is granted, the im­pact could rip­ple far be­yond Texas.

Of the more than 74 mil­lion peo­ple on Med­i­caid, nearly 17 mil­lion are non-el­derly women who de­pend on Planned Par­ent­hood as their pri­mary source of es­sen­tial health­care.

Pre­vent­ing will­ing providers from see­ing Med­i­caid pa­tients is pro­hib­ited by fed­eral law, but Texas state of­fi­cials hope the CMS un­der Trump will test this new fam­ily plan­ning vi­sion.

Un­der the Healthy Texas Women pro­gram, doc­tors must sign a con­tract that stip­u­lates that they can’t bill the pro­gram if they pro­mote elective abor­tions or are af­fil­i­ated with a group that per­forms or pro­motes elective abor­tions.

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