Perry caught in Medicaid contradiction

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is facing a big contradiction as he pursues two policies important to conservatives — defunding Planned Parenthood and rejecting President Obama's healthcare law.

Perry has said he won't implement the healthcare law's Medicaid expansion. But his plan to cut off Planned Parenthood assumes that the Medicaid expansion will happen in Texas.

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Planned Parenthood noted the contradiction in formal comments on the state's plan to overhaul its healthcare programs for women.

The federal government pays for about 90 percent of Texas's Women's Health Program. Perry wants to end the program because the Obama administration won't allow him to exclude Planned Parenthood clinics.

The GOP governor wants to create a new program funded entirely by the state, so that he can cut off all access to Planned Parenthood.

A new program, though, would be expensive. In trying to downplay the cost, Perry's administration said the state-run alternative won't need much funding because "all clients will be eligible for Medicaid following the expansion of the Medicaid program" under the Affordable Care Act.

As Planned Parenthood notes, however, Perry has publicly said Texas will not participate in the Medicaid expansion. The Supreme Court's landmark healthcare ruling made the expansion optional for states, and several Republican governors have vowed to opt out.

Planned Parenthood also questioned whether Texas even has the authority to abandon the existing Women's Health Program and its 90 percent federal match. The group also noted that the Texas legislature has not set aside money to fund a state-based program.

The federal government does not pay for abortions. Many conservatives want to block Medicaid from covering other services at Planned Parenthood clinics because the organization also provides abortions.