The Austin Chronicle

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2013-01-08/hhsc-says-texas-womens-health-program-just-fine-without-planned-parenthood/

HHSC Says Texas Women's Health Program Just Fine Without Planned Parenthood

By Jordan Smith, January 8, 2013, 6:07pm, Newsdesk

Just a week after the new state-run and financed Texas Women's Health Program began operation, the Health and Human Services Commission on Monday released a report declaring that the state has expanded its capacity to serve low-income women now that Planned Parenthood has been banned from participation.

According to the report, in 2012 the Medicaid-waiver WHP served 110,000 women, more than 40,000 of them through Planned Parenthood clinics. But the results of a provider survey show that with Planned Parenthood now out of the picture, providers who've signed on to the new Texas-run WHP say they'll actually be able to serve far more clients than have been served in the past. Indeed, the state now believes will have the ability to serve more than 147,000 women in 2013.

The new report comes just days before McAllen WHP patient Marcy Balquinta and the state's Planned Parenthood affiliates are scheduled to meet state lawyers in court to argue that Texas should be enjoined from blocking Planned Parenthood's participation in the program, because the ban will leave Balquinta and tens of thousands of other women without access to the program through their provider of choice, Planned Parenthood. The state has said that if the women want to remain in the program they'll have to chose from among state-approved providers. Texas argues that it has the right to restrict provider participation as part of its mission to further a pro-life message that it claims is undermined by Planned Parenthood. Notably, pregnant women are not eligible for the program and none of the Planned Parenthood clinics that had been providers under the Medicaid-funded WHP provide abortion services.

More on the fight over the WHP is here and here and here.

Find the state's new capacity report here.

Copyright © 2014 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.