Obama administration officials in the Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday they would pull all of Medicaid’s funding for Texas’ Women’s Health Program because the state decided to no longer pass those funds along to abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood. Instead of holding the Obama officials accountable for putting the interests of a favored liberal group ahead of the poor women of Texas, right on cue the CBS Evening News turned it into another tale of woe with women as victims in the loss of “free” services provided by the sacrosanct Planned Parenthood.
“A fight over Planned Parenthood could leave thousands of women without health services,” anchor Scott Pelley ominously teased Thursday night, before introducing the report on how the “a growing dispute...could leave thousands of Texas women without access to health care.”
Reporter Anna Werner went straight to a woman “worried about a recent Texas decision to exclude Planned Parenthood from that federal program, which provides free preventive services, like breast and cervical cancer screenings, to low-income women.”
Werner highlighted how “around the state, other women are protesting the decision. Planned Parenthood serves 50,000 women in the program.” She then hit Texas Governor Rick Perry from the left, countering his concern: “But under federal law, the money’s not allowed to go to abortions under this program at all.” As if money is not fungible. Then she pressed him repeatedly: “You believe other providers will be able to pick up the slack?...What if they can’t?...But what if they can’t?”
She concluded where she began, with her poster victim lacking access to Planned Parenthood: “For patients like Holly Andrews, what if also means what now? She doesn’t know of any other clinic in her town where she can get medical services for free.”
From the Thursday, March 15 CBS Evening News:
SCOTT PELLEY: The federal government today blocked millions of dollars in Medicaid funding that was supposed to help poor women in Texas. That came after the state cut funding for Planned Parenthood. It’s a growing dispute that could leave thousands of Texas women without access to health care. We asked Anna Werner to look into it.
ANNA WERNER: Holly Andrews says the Planned Parenthood clinic in her home town of Corsicana is her only option for free checkups. The 44-year-old mother of two says breast cancer runs in her family.
HOLLY ANDREWS: If I didn’t have the women’s health care program, I would not have my yearly mammogram, no.
WERNER: Just would not at all because you don’t have insurance?
ANDREWS: I don’t have insurance.
WERNER: She’s worried about a recent Texas decision to exclude Planned Parenthood from that federal program, which provides free preventive services, like breast and cervical cancer screenings, to low-income women.
ANDREWS: What should we do? Where do we go?
WOMEN AT RALLY: Are you mad?
WERNER: Around the state, other women are protesting the decision. Planned Parenthood serves 50,000 women in the program. The federal government says denying money to the organization, a qualified provider under Medicaid rules, is illegal. So it’s pulled $35 million in federal funding. Governor Rick Perry defends the state’s decision.
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: We don’t want Planned Parenthood and their affiliates who are in the abortion business engaged in this process. It’s just pretty straight up.
WERNER: But under federal law, the money’s not allowed to go to abortions under this program at all.
PERRY: Well, we would rather be very sure of it.
WERNER: Governor Perry says the state will find the money to replace the lot of federal dollars. But Jose Camacho, who heads the Texas Association of Community Health Clinics, wonders where the money will come from.
WERNER TO CAMACHO: If Planned Parenthood is cut oft of this picture, can your centers pick up the slack?
CAMACHO: We can pick up some of it, but there’s no possible way that we can expand that quickly to take that many additional patients.
WERNER, TO PERRY: You believe other providers will be able to pick up the slack?
WERNER: What if they can’t?
PERRY: But they can, so, I mean, you know-
WERNER: But what if they can’t?
PERRY: I’m not in the game of what ifs.
WERNER: For patients like Holly Andrews, what if also means what now? She doesn’t know of any other clinic in her town where she can get medical services for free. Anna Werner, CBS News, Corsicana Texas.