Texas' proposed budget for August shows potential budget cuts for women's health care, to the tune of $3.8 million.
Clinics providing contraceptive access, as well as primary and preventative care, dependent on state funded programs like Healthy Texas Women and the Family Planning Program, would be directly affected by the cuts.
"We’re seeing budget cuts at a time when we know that the services are most in need it really created some concern among our provider network," said Kami Geoffray.
Staffing, supplies, outreach and education are all on the potential chopping block. CEO of Everybody Texas Kami Geoffray says she's advocating for the state to dig deep and the find funding.
"We will see both a decrease in the services available between reductions in staffing reductions in clinic hours and we would also see reductions in outreach and education efforts letting folks in the community know that the services are available to them that’s really important in a time where we are seeing rising unemployment rates across Texas when we did not expand Medicaid to adult populations," Geoffray said.
While these services are at risk, other health care options like Alternatives to Abortion are seeing an increased in funding, according to the Texas Tribune. Geoffray says these clinics provide much more than contraceptive services.
"In this program we’re seeing cancer screenings for sexually transmitted infections we also see screenings for hypertension among other chronic conditions that many Texans face and often or without healthcare access and services," said Geoffray.
"Obviously when they made the budget, they didn’t want to cut any of those things that’s why they put it in the budget and they’re obviously not looking to remove those items from the budget they are looking to reduce them some to help mitigate some of the loss in revenue that are projected," said Dr. Rob Tennant.
With a projected deficit of 5% or 4.6 billion dollars, Dr. Rob Tennant Interim Chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics at Central Texas A&M, says cuts have to come from somewhere.
"Now they’re in the stage where they are considering proposing and reducing coats to try and balance the budget it’s a very precarious line to draw they have to struggle over with the most essential of those benefits to still fully fund," Dr. Tennant said,
However, Geoffray feels healthcare funding is nonnegotiable.
"These are the programs that will be the safety net for many women across our state and it’s really important that providers are able to both outreach and educate about these programs and fully staffed these programs to offer these critical services," said Geoffrey.
Christine Mann, with The Texas health and Human Services commission, released a statement saying:
HHSC is deeply committed to ensuring budget reductions have minimal impact on the Texans we serve every day. We’re equally mindful of the financial responsibility we have to Texas taxpayers as we face the economic challenges brought on by this pandemic. It’s important to understand, reductions in the agency’s plan are not final and will evolve as HHSC continues to assess the impacts of these reductions and identifies alternative savings opportunities. We will continue to work with the Governor, the legislature and stakeholders to make sure all budget decisions put Texans first; those we serve, those who serve and the taxpayers whose money we are entrusted with.
We did reach out to Governor Abbott's office for comment but haven't heard anything back.