Eight days after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and ruled that the federal government cannot penalize states that refuse to expand Medicaid, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced that he would not open the program to more applicants. But while he was making a public show of turning down federal funds, Perry was using the additional dollars in state budget projections.
In a letter explaining how he would fill a budget gap left by Texas’ decision to defund Planned Parenthood, Perry’s office uses the money the federal government will pay states that make Medicaid available to individuals up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Line in its budgetary assumptions:
Greta Rymal, Deputy Executive Commissioner for Financial Services, has projected the fiscal impact of this rule for three years, assuming that all clients will be eligible for Medicaid following the expansion of the Medicaid program in January 2014 […]
Several months ago, the Texas health commissioner signed a rule to ban Planned Parenthood or any organization the state considers an “abortion affiliate” from participating in Medicaid’s Women’s Health Program, which “provides low-income women with family planning exams, related health screenings and birth control” throughout Texas. The state’s discrimination against a specific health provider violated federal rules and led Washington, which had financed 90 percent of the WHP through Medicaid funds, to block Texas from receiving further funding for the program.
According to a new report from the George Washington University School of Public Health, more than 52,000 people benefited from Planned Parenthood’s services as part of the Women’s Health Program in Texas in 2010.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the original letter was rendered incorrect by Gov. Perry’s decision to turn down the expansion. However, state officials have no moved to correct the letter.