Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last Friday that the federal government will no longer provide funding through the Medicaid family planning program for the state of Texas. This comes after Governor Rick Perry's decision to implement a law that would exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid women's health program, essentially cutting any government funding to Planned Parenthood. 11 clinics in the state have had to close as a result.
Officials at the Medicaid federal agency said that states are not allowed to restrict patient's access to particular providers and still receive federal funding. Cindy Mann, a top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stated, "Medicaid law is clear - patients, not state government officials, are able to choose the health-care providers that are best for them and their families."
The Medicaid women's health program provides free birth control and exams to more than 130,000 women in the state. Texas will be the only state to have federal funding for this program withdrawn. Several states, however, such as Wisconsin, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana, are considering similar action to Texas in cutting funding to Planned Parenthood clinics.
Media Resources: Reuters 3/16/12; Huffington Post 3/15/12; Wall Street Journal 3/15/12; Reuters 3/13/12