More Questions Than Answers on Women’s Health Budget
Concerns remain about the 130,000 women who lost access to health care due to 2011 budget cuts
Austin, TX – As the Texas Legislature adopts its 2014-15 biennial budget, women’s health is at a crossroads. Rather than restoring the devastating family planning cuts made by the 2011 Texas Legislature, the 2013 Legislature added $100 million in new funding to the state’s primary care program for women’s health, including family planning. The new funding for women’s health will primarily go to public hospitals and clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), organizations that have not traditionally been the lead provider of family planning services in Texas. Concerns remain about whether all of the 130,000 uninsured women who lost access to care following the 2011 Texas Legislature’s actions will receive health care and family planning services from these new funds.
“Our work is not over. One in four Texas women is uninsured, and our state’s cervical cancer rates are among the highest in the nation,” said Ken S. Lambrecht, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. “Our elected officials have a responsibility to ensure that all Texas women and families have access to quality, affordable health care and a full network of qualified providers who have the capacity to see these women, including Planned Parenthood.”
Additional funding for women’s health is a win for Texas, but it is unclear whether the new $100 million allocated by the Legislature through the primary care program will reach all of the uninsured women who lost access to health care and are in need of family planning services. Women’s access to health care has already been dramatically reduced statewide as a result of the exclusion of Planned Parenthood health centers from public funding. In fact, the federal government recently awarded Title X family planning dollars that used to go to the state to a coalition of Texas family planning providers, including two Planned Parenthood affiliates.
In other budget news, lawmakers allocated more than $70 million for the Texas Women’s Health Program (Texas WHP). State officials rejected an estimated $63 million in federal matching funds that would have covered 90% of the cost of the program. Formerly, Planned Parenthood served nearly half of the 111,00 women who relied on Medicaid Women’s Health Program (Medicaid WHP) for lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive health care. Without Planned Parenthood’s participation, preliminary data already shows a decrease in claims under the new, fully state-funded Texas WHP.
FACT: Family planning is preventive health care for women, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and HIV tests. Family planning is cost-effective, curbs health care costs and saves taxpayers money—and 73% of Texas voters believe the state should fund family planning services. According to the state, it costs $241 per woman per year for family planning services, and more than $16,000 per woman for delivery and first year infant care covered by Medicaid.
FACT: The 2011 Texas Legislature slashed funding for the state’s family planning program by two-thirds and implemented a tiered funding system that excluded specialty family planning providers like Planned Parenthood from the program. As a result, Texas’ family planning program served only 75,160 women in 2012—63% fewer women than in 2011—and paid 15% more per client for care. This reduced access to birth control is expected to cost Texas taxpayers up to $273 million.
FACT: Texas left millions of dollars on the table unspent while dozens of trusted women’s health centers closed statewide and 130,000 of the state’s most vulnerable women went without lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control and other basic, preventive health care.
FACT: One year after the 2005 Texas Legislature redirected $10 million from specialty family planning providers to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), the state’s family planning program served 41,574 fewer women and nearly $2 million unspent funds were returned to the state.
FACT: Planned Parenthood is a vital part of Texas’ health network, providing the broadest access to the most cost-effective preventive care. In 2010, 31 percent of women served by the state’s family planning program relied on Planned Parenthood as their provider of choice. Among women who seek care at a family planning provider like Planned Parenthood, more than six in 10 considered it their primary source of medical care.
FACT: On January 1, 2013, the state launched a fully state-funded program called the Texas WHP in order to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program. This program replaced the successful Medicaid WHP, which received 90% of its funding from the federal government. Experts agree that other providers are unable to offset the loss of Planned Parenthood in the program and that tens of thousands of women could go without care.
January 30, 2014
April 29, 2014