Low-income families scored a big win this week with a court ruling that restored providers who serve 40 percent of the Texas women who rely on the Medicaid Women’s Health Program (WHP).
Those in control of the legislature put WHP and low-income families health in jeopardy — and discriminated against some of the women who need the program — by ignoring federal rules and refusing to allow all qualified providers to participate in the program. When the federal government refused to provide funding to Texas’ WHP because it was out of compliance with the program’s long-standing rules, the Governor said he’d find money in the already overstretched, underfunded HHSC budget to make up the roughly $30 million that would have come to Texas through a 9-to-1 federal match.
This was money Texans had already sent to Washington through federal taxes and could have recouped for a minimal — and legislatively approved — state investment.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a preliminary injunction halting the state’s effort to exclude healthcare WHP providers or discriminate against women by limiting their options for where they can seek treatment.
But the bottom line is that the WHP provides basic, much-needed healthcare to low-income families, the federal matching funding is money that Texans have paid and Texans deserve to get back, and changing the rules to limit women’s options for seeking treatment discriminates against those women.