Texas will regain federal Medicaid funding for its state family planning program despite refusing to reinstate Planned Parenthood’s coverage, a move which threatens to embolden attacks on Planned Parenthood in other states. Texas lost its Title X federal funding under the Obama administration in 2012 after removing Planned Parenthood and other “affiliates of abortion providers” from its family planning program.
Texas saw the Trump administration as an opportunity to regain its lost federal family planning funding and submitted a Medicaid funding request to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2017. Texas is the first state to exclude providers and still receive Medicaid family planning funding, a step which the Planned Parenthood Action Fund has called a “backdoor ‘defund.’”
Following its exclusion of Planned Parenthood, Texas rejected millions of dollars of federal funding in favor of establishing a state-funded program called Healthy Texas Women. Healthy Texas Women replaced the state’s large, experienced network of clinics with smaller providers, many of which were unable to offer key family planning services like IUDs.
In 2018, Texas cancelled its multi-million dollar contracts with the Heidi Group, an anti-abortion organization it had selected as a family planning provider for Healthy Texas Women. The Heidi Group had provided care to fewer than 5 percent of patients promised and had no prior experience in offering family planning services.
Texas has a lengthy history of attacks on Planned Parenthood with detrimental effects on women’s access to healthcare in the state. In 2015, Texas attempted to eliminate Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion group released fraudulent videos accusing Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue. Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011 led to massive family planning budget cuts. The cuts prompted the closure of one in four family planning clinics in the state, two thirds of which were not run by Planned Parenthood.
Sources: The Hill 1/22/20; NPR 5/16/17; Texas Observer 1/22/20, 10/12/18; Washington Post 2/7/17