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Texas Has Blocked Health Care Access for Medicaid Patients

Political attacks on health care access for Texans with Medicaid now prevent 8,000 Planned Parenthood patients from receiving life-saving care at their trusted provider.

What happened?

On November 23, 2020, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Texas can block access to essential health care — like cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control — for thousands of low-income patients by excluding Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program.

We fought back, but, in March 2021, a state court ruled that Texas can proceed with blocking Medicaid patients' access to care at Planned Parenthood. This means that, as of March 12, 2021, patients with Medicaid can no longer use their coverage to pay for services at any Planned Parenthood health center in Texas. Planned Parenthood is deeply saddened by the state's actions. We know that health care is a human right, and we will continue to do everything we can to prevent extremist politicians from infringing on that right.

Lisa's Story

This political attack on Texas Medicaid patients has a devastating impact on real people — people like Lisa, a 39-year-old single mother of two and survivor of domestic violence. Listen to Lisa's full story here.

"After leaving an abusive marriage in 2018, I found myself without health insurance, so I applied to Medicaid. Everywhere I turned I faced long waits, and I was always pushed to the back of the line. I needed follow-up care and treatment for my high-risk HPV — one of the two types that lead to the majority of cervical cancer cases — and referrals for therapy and reparative surgery for the rapes I endured in my marriage. I was in pain, and having to wait was excruciating. Only at Planned Parenthood was I finally able to get a same-day, immediate appointment.
My experience at Planned Parenthood was unlike any other health care setting. More than a health center, I found a community. I have a sensitive situation with deeply personal health care needs, and at Planned Parenthood I have always felt safe, welcomed, and understood. Finding a new provider who accepts Medicaid, and one where I feel comfortable, is hard enough at any time, but during a pandemic it feels practically impossible. Now I have yet another thing to worry about, and I don’t know what I’m going to do. The thought of waiting around for something bad to happen terrifies me."

Take Action

Find another provider in the Medicaid program.

If you need care, contact the customer service phone number on the back of your insurance card, call the Texas Medicaid Hotline at 1-800-252-8263, or visit www.tmhp.com to find other providers in your area.

Share your story.

Are you a Medicaid patient who’s relied on Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for your health care? Has Planned Parenthood impacted your life in any way? If you’re comfortable, we would love to hear from you.

Contact Governor Abbott.

Tell Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that health care is a human right. Patients should be able to choose their own provider, and people need more access to health care during a pandemic — not less. Call 512-463-2000 or send a message online.

Why is this happening?

This decision follows years of attempts by extremist politicians to baselessly restrict patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood. Make no mistake: This is a blatantly political attack against Planned Parenthood. We take pride in being an excellent health care provider for all people, and we follow all laws and regulations and the highest medical standards. We have done nothing wrong. Even so, Planned Parenthood is a frequent target of such political attacks that impact patients’ ability to access care.

Unfortunately, this decision will most harm women and people of color who disproportionately are enrolled in public health programs like Medicaid. This ruling means that the very communities already facing systemic discrimination, greater barriers to care, and disparately worse health outcomes will now also lose their freedom to choose the health care provider that best serves their needs.

Statement from Melaney A. Linton, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast

“This decision is yet another devastating blow in Texas’ long history of preventing people from accessing life-saving and essential health care at Planned Parenthood. Texas politicians have shown time and time again that they value extremist agendas over Texans’ lives and access to quality, affordable health care.

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast provides birth control, life-saving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other preventive health care to patients across the greater Houston area through the Medicaid program. Thanks to the state’s anti-abortion agenda, those thousands of Texans’ access to care is now in jeopardy — and during an unprecedented global health crisis, no less.

Now more than ever, we must do everything we can to expand people’s access to essential health care, not restrict it.”