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Escobar, Veasey Lead Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation Calling on Gov. Abbott to Reverse Decision Excluding Planned Parenthood from the Texas Medicaid Program

“Access to care should not be treated as a political weapon. We urge you to stop playing politics with Texans’ health care.”

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33), led the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott calling for the reversal of his decision to exclude Planned Parenthood providers from the Medicaid program as the state faces the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Additionally, the letter highlights the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas, Planned Parenthood’s nonjudgmental, high-quality, and accessible care services, and the disastrous health outcomes as a result of the systematic removal of Planned Parenthood providers from all aspects of state funding.

“Together, we represent over 9.4 million Texans and, although we don’t always agree on policies, we are all working to meet the needs of the people we serve. This includes 8,000 Texans with Medicaid coverage who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care. While we are glad a Travis County Judge issued a temporary order preventing this action from being implemented for 14 days, we ask you to reverse your decision to pursue this ill-conceived policy,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers continued, “In light of the COVID-19 public health crisis facing Texas, our state needs more providers. This is not the time to cut access to care, especially for people with low incomes, many of whom are essential workers and single parents. [Planned Parenthood providers] play a vital role in the health care landscape and provide necessary care to Texans with low incomes.”

“The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling further risks placing health care out of reach for Texans with low incomes during a pandemic. For many patients of reproductive age in Texas, Planned Parenthood providers are their only source of health care. Planned Parenthood providers design their services around the reality that patients with low incomes face grave barriers to health care such as child care and work obligations, limited transportation, and inflexible work schedules, and strive to accommodate these restrictions by offering evening and weekend hours, walk-in appointments, short wait times, bilingual staff or translation services, telehealth services, and same-day contraceptive services. Patients choose Planned Parenthood providers for their nonjudgmental, high-quality and accessible care,” the lawmakers continued.

The lawmakers concluded the letter by stating that Governor Abbott’s decisions to restrict access to health care providers while Texas’ health care system continues to be overloaded with COVID-19 patients is “negligent and will cost even more lives,” and urging him to “stop playing politics with Texans’ health care.”

Joining Congresswoman Escobar and Congressman Veasey are all members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation: Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Al Green (TX-09), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Colin Allred (TX-32), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), and Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07).

The full text of the letter can be read here.

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