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Planned Parenthood files emergency lawsuit to try to stop Texas from kicking it off Medicaid


Protesters hold up signs at a pro-Planned Parenthood rally in San Antonio. - MICHAEL BARAJAS
  • Michael Barajas
  • Protesters hold up signs at a pro-Planned Parenthood rally in San Antonio.
Planned Parenthood on Wednesday said it filed an emergency lawsuit to stop Texas from kicking it out of Medicaid, in a last ditch effort to keep providing non-abortion services to thousands of low-income patients.

The state gave those patients until February 3 to find new doctors after the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas officials who have long sought to block the health provider from participating in Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor.

It is difficult to qualify for Medicaid in Texas, which has the highest uninsured rate nationwide. A single parent with two children cannot make more than $230 a month.

A lower court blocked the state from removing Planned Parenthood from Medicaid in 2017 but was overruled by the 5th Circuit in November, in a development cheered by state officials including Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Planned Parenthood asked for a six-month delay to help its Medicaid patients find new doctors, citing the ongoing pandemic. The state health commission granted a 30-day grace period that ends this month.

Texas does not pay for abortions through its Medicaid program except in extremely limited circumstances, such as rape or incest.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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