Texas Claims Women’s Health Program Capacity Will Increase Without Planned Parenthood, Despite All Evidence to the Contrary

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has said that it will have absolutely no trouble managing the number of clients in its new Texas Women's Health Program, according to the department's own survey. According to everyone else? Not so much.

Governor Rick Perry. (Rick Barrera/Statesman.com)

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) claims that, according to its own research, there will be plenty of doctors available to serve clients in the newly implemented Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP) without Planned Parenthood. The new TWHP launched January 1, and Planned Parenthood has been banned from participation in the program because the state considers it an abortion provider “affiliate.”

Not to worry, then: ignore the evidence, analyses, reports and investigations from George Washington University, the Center For Public Policy Priorities, the Dallas Morning News and Rewire showing a starkly different reality. From the HHSC Patient Capacity Report:

“Overall, the Texas Women’s Health Program patient capacity survey results are positive. In most areas, the survey found that the state has the capacity to serve even more women in 2013.”

The department estimates that its providers can see 147,513 clients this year—and it’s truly an estimate, given that 56 percent of the providers HHSC ostensibly surveyed did not even respond to the actual survey. For the providers that didn’t respond, HHSC guessed how many additional clients clinics and doctors might be able to see in 2013, based on how many clients they billed for 2012. HHSC surveyed providers within 30 miles of Planned Parenthood clinics that can no longer see the 50,000 or so Texans who’ve relied on them for contraception and cancer screening services in the past.

For example: providers within 30 miles of Harlingen, on Texas’ Gulf Coast are projected to increase their capacity by 9,158 clients. And HHSC projects that providers in San Antonio will be able to increase capacity by a whopping 28,214 clients. The department also found that capacity will be “especially robust” in the Rio Grande Valley, one of state’s poorest-served areas in terms of health care, which has taken drastic hits already as a result of 2011 cuts to family planning services in the state.

HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek—a man who doesn’t believe the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimate that more than a quarter of Texans are uninsured—said in a statement on Monday that the survey “gives us great confidence that we can continue to provide women with family planning and preventive care and fully comply with state law.”

Delusion, Texas-style.