Federal Judge Rules Texas Can’t Boot Planned Parenthood From Medicaid Program

The judge wasn’t convinced patients would be able to “quickly and easily” find another provider.

By Ashley LopezFebruary 22, 2017 9:30 am, , ,

From KUT

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Texas health officials cannot kick Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program.

State officials told Planned Parenthood last year that they were removing its women’s health clinics from the program because of a highly edited video purporting to show illegal activity. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Tuesday that the state’s reasoning did not “justify disrupting the health care of some of Texas’s most vulnerable individuals.”

Sparks said the state’s decision to oust the clinics would likely violate a part of federal law that says Medicaid recipients in Texas should have access to medical care at their chosen providers. He issued a preliminary injunction until the case can be decided.

The decision is “especially good for patients who are enrolled in Medicaid because it means that they get to choose to come to the provider that they trust,” Sarah Wheat with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas said.

The executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, the organization’s political arm, said access to care was already an issue for many of the 11,000 Medicaid recipients Planned Parenthood serves in Texas.

“Medicaid patients are, as we know, typically low income, typically in hard to reach areas, and don’t have continuous access to health care,” Yvonne Gutierrez said. “So, impacting patients by denying access to their provider of choice is scary.”

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