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Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement regarding Texas Medicaid funding and Women’s health and the recent decision by Health and Human Services to continue service to minority women in Texas. As of March 14th the state of Texas and the women of Texas were on the verge of losing $40 million in Medicaid funding for the Women’s Health Program. With the hard work of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee that has been averted for the time being.

“This is great news for those in need of health care and for those who cannot afford to have their health care denied on any level. This decision by HHS did not come easy. I personally worked with officials of HHS and the State of Texas to see that the program be extended for 3 months. During those 3 months we will continue to have more talks and negotiations about the program. At the end of 3 months HHS will be open to extending the benefits for another 3 months but a phase out will be in effect.

“However, this extra time gives me and other state representatives more time to find alternative methods and for the State to seek other areas that will not cut off minority women and children from groups like Planned Parenthood where some seek their health care needs. I hope the state will come to its senses to ensure that the health of women and healthy children will always be afforded to them as citizens of the state of Texas.

“During my time in Congress I have worked to improve the lives of women and advance gender equality. The status of women and girls is a key indicator of a community’s well-being. Whether we are working on addressing the 77 cents that women make for every dollar earned by a man or reducing health disparities women face, I have made improving the lives of women a top priority in my work.

“Women are among those who benefit most from the recently enacted health insurance reform legislation. Previously, women were often charged higher premiums solely on the basis of their gender. Women also disproportionately lack the option of obtaining health coverage from their employer. Reforms will ensure that nearly every American woman receives adequate health insurance.

“I convened a Women’s Health Summit earlier this week with state Rep. Garnet Coleman where we were in negotiating with U.S. Health and Human Services in hopes of finding alternative funding for the program, which provides health screenings and contraceptive services to 130,000 Texas women on Medicaid. We are glad a temporary solution has been found.”

Michael J. McQuerry
Communications Director
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
2160 Rayburn HOB
Washington , DC 20515
202-225-3816 – Office
202-225-7080 – Cell
202-226-1504 – Direct
202-225-3317 – Fax

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