Federal government defunds Texas Women's Health Program - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Federal government defunds Texas Women's Health Program

Friday the Texas Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after the U.S. Government announced plans to cut off funding for Texas Women's Health Care.

The state says they do not want federal money to fund Texas clinics affiliated with abortion providers. The federal government says Texas cannot pick which clinics get the money and which don't, so they're dropping the state's program all together.

Governor Perry's office assures the women who need these services will not be abandoned as the state works to find a way to take care of them.

The Texas Women's Health Program provides preventative exams and medications for more than 100,000 woman each year.

The Medicaid based program aims to help lower income women who would usually just would go without.

"Governor Perry believes that this is an important program and he has pledged to Texans that we will keep the program going as long as the federal government continues to refuse the funds that our state rightly reserves," says Catherine Frazier, a spokesperson for Governor Perry.

Frazier says Perry has already instructed the Texas Health and Human Services Director to look at available funds in the budget that can be used the keep this program going.

The federal government says they regret the move, but they say the don't have a choice.

The director of the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, Cindy Mann, says, "Medicaid law is clear. Patients, not state government officials, are able to choose the doctor and health care providers that are best for them and their family."

But Governor Perry's office disagrees. "Federal law says states have the freedom to decide who a qualified provider is in this women's health program," says Frazier.

"There is absolutely no reason the Obama Administration had to come in and pull the rug out from under 100,000 Texas women. If they were really concerned about insuring that these women had health care they would have continued to fund the program," she says.

The U.S. Government says they'll continue to fund the program for 9 more months and then Texas will be on it's own.

Federal funds currently cover 90% of the cost for the Texas Women's Health Program.

The state's legal action seeks to reinstate the federal funding that previously supported the program.

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