KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Planned Parenthood Sues Texas After Exclusion From Women’s Health Program

In March, Texas dropped its state Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortion services.

The Associated Press: Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Exclusion
Eight Planned Parenthood organizations sued Texas on Wednesday for excluding them from participating in a program that provides contraception and check-ups to women, saying the new rule violates their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association. The groups, none of which provide abortions, contend in the federal lawsuit that a new state law banning organizations affiliated with abortion providers from participating in the Women's Health Program has nothing to do with providing medical care (Tomlinson, 4/11).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Defunding
A month ago, Texas was dropped from a federal program that helps subsidize contraception and reproductive check-ups for poor women. Even though the program has nothing to do with abortion, [Gov. Rick] Perry wanted to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates from participating (Feibel, 4/11).

Houston Chronicle: Planned Parenthood Sues Over Abortions Exclusion
The suit, filed in Austin, says Texas' exclusion of Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women's Health Program violates the organization's constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association. It asks the court to stop the rule from taking effect May 1 (Ackerman, 4/11).

The Dallas Morning News: Planned Parenthood Sues Texas For Cutting It From Women's Health Care
"They don't get to say everyone can be in this program as long as they give up their rights to free speech and freedom of association," said Pete Schenkkan, the Austin-based attorney for Planned Parenthood. State leaders defended their actions, saying the state should be allowed to set funding rules, including deciding which health providers are eligible (Hoppe, 4/11).

Politico Pro: Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Funding
After Texas moved forward with the rule, which blocks funding to clinics affiliated with abortion providers, CMS denied an extension of the state's Women's Health Program waiver in March, saying the state violated federal Medicaid laws and the waiver agreement by deciding which clinics could receive funding (Smith, 4/11).

The Hill: Planned Parenthood Sues Over Policy Cutting Off Medicaid Funds
It's just one in a series of state-level efforts to defund Planned Parenthood clinics because the organization provides abortions in addition to its other health care services (Baker, 4/11).

Reuters: Family Planning Group Sues Over Exclusion From Texas Program
Since the Texas Women's Health Program began in 2007, state law has technically banned its money from going to abortion providers or affiliates of abortion providers, but the state did not enforce the ban on affiliates. ... State officials say they want to continue the program - which is part of the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled - and will work to extend federal funding or find a way to pay for it with state dollars. The federal government pays 90 percent of the $33-million-a-year program (MacLaggan, 4/11).

The Texas Tribune: Planned Parenthood Sues to Halt Exclusion From Program
In a conference call with reporters, Patricio Gonzales, the CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County, warned that his four remaining clinics along the border are at risk of shutting down by the end of May because half of their patients are Women's Health Program clients. The Hidalgo County Planned Parenthood group already closed four other clinics last September as a result of state family planning reductions (Ramshaw and Tan, 4/11). 

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