Governor Scrambles for Women’s Health Funds
In what is described by some as a fiscal switcheroo, Governor Rick Perry is hoping to free up state dollars to fund the embattled Women’s Health Program — by seeking federal block grants for other programs, and rerouting some of the funds to women’s health.
Texas is losing more than $30 million in annual federal funding for the Women’s Health Program, because of Perry’s decision to force Planned Parenthood clinics out of the Medicaid program.
Perry says he will find the money to continue operating the contraception and cancer screening program without federal help.
Perry says the Health and Human Services Department has several options that won’t create additional budget needs.
One option would be to apply for newly available federal block grants for existing state programs, so the cost savings could be funneled into the Women’s Health Program. Perry says this would work because “State funds and federal block grants are interchangeable in many programs.”
Texas democrats say this move is “fiscally irresponsible.” Despite his rebukes of the federal government, they say Perry’s latest idea relies on federal dollars yet again to keep the program going. They say he”s just robbing one program to pay for another.