In the latest political clash over women's health, the White House has suspended Texas from a Medicaid program that provides reproductive health services.
The move came after Texas passed a law prohibiting abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid Women's Health Program, an initiative that allows women who are not eligible for Medicaid in its entirety to still obtain services like cancer screenings and contraception.
Under federal law, states are not allowed to bar organizations performing legal services from receiving Medicaid funding. Texas Governor Rick Perry stood behind his state's rule despite warnings from the federal government, and on Thursday Medicaid Director Cindy Mann sent Texas officials a letter notifying them Texas had been dropped from the Medicaid Women's Health Program.
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, Mann said in a conference call with reporters.
Federal funding had covered 90 percent of the program's roughly $40 million annual cost. Perry has vowed to continue the program, which serves about 130,000 women, but did not say how Texas would make up the shortfall.
We're going to find the money somewhere, Perry said on Fox News. It's just sad that you have an administration that is more interested in paying off and rewarding their political supporters and using this as a political issue.
Federal officials have rejected other state laws that seek to bar abortion providers from receiving federal health care funding, but Texas is the first to forfeit money as a result.