Policy analysis of shifting to the state-run Texas women's health program

Jazmine Cavazos, The University of Texas School of Public Health


During the 82nd Texas legislature, state leaders passed a provision stating that healthcare providers, who perform, promote, or affiliate with providers who perform or promote elective abortion services may not be eligible to participate in the Texas Medicaid Women's Health Program (WHP). The federal government reacted to this new provision by vowing to eliminate its 90% share of program support on the grounds that the provision violated a patient's freedom to choose a provider; a right protected by the Social Security Act. Texas leaders stated that the Women's Health Program would continue without federal support, financed exclusively with state funds. The following policy analysis compares the projected impact of the current Medicaid Women's Health Program to the proposed state-run program using the criteria-alternative matrix framework. The criteria used to evaluate the program alternatives include population affected, unintended pregnancy and abortion impact, impact on cervical cancer rate, and state-level government expenditures. Each criterion was defined by selected measures. The population affected was measured by the number of women served in the programs. Government expenditures were measured in terms of payments for program costs, Medicaid delivery costs, and cervical cancer diagnostic costs. Unintended pregnancy impact was measured by the number of projected unplanned pregnancies and abortions under each alternative. The impact on cervical cancer was projected in terms of the number of new cervical cancer cases under each alternative. Differences in the projections with respect to each criterion were compared to assess the impact of shifting to the state-only policy. After examining program alternatives, it is highly recommended that Texas retain the Medicaid WHP. If the state does decide to move forward with the state-run WHP, it is recommended that the program run at its previous capacity. Furthermore, for the purpose of addressing the relatively high cervical cancer incidence rate in Texas, incorporating HPV vaccination coverage for women ages 18-26 as part of the Women's Health Program is recommended.

Subject Area

Public health|Public policy

Recommended Citation

Cavazos, Jazmine, "Policy analysis of shifting to the state-run Texas women's health program" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1533364.