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By W. Gardner Selby January 30, 2017

Abbott keeps vow to spend on cancer screenings, health care for low-income residents

Stumping in 2014, gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott declared his desire to spend more on a few health care initiatives--including $50 million a year to fund follow-up screenings for low-income women who have tested positive for breast or cervical cancer.

In his February 2015 state-of-the-state address, Abbott revisited his desire for such funding, telling legislators: "We also need to provide more funding for women's health programs for more access to care like cancers screenings and checkups. My" proposed "budget does that."

Lawmakers paid mind. In checking on this promise, in fact, we realized that we'd confirmed legislative approval of Abbott's desired $50 million in added annual spending more than a year before.

In September 2015, we found True a claim that the state was funding women's health at historically high levels--and that story said that per the adopted budget, the Health and Human Services Commission was directed, on page II-105 of the 2016-17 state budget Abbott signed into law, to allocate $50 million a year "providing primary health care services to women" including but not limited to preventive "health screenings such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and STD-HIV screenings; family planning services including contraception; perinatal services; and dental services."

Due to such spending, the adopted budget says that annually, 65,000 adults and adolescents would receive family planning services.

A note: In September 2014, when Abbott laid out his call for expanding primary health care for women, news stories described his pitch as entailing $175 million in total additional spending.

We repeated that figure when we initially published this Abbott promise. However, Abbott didn't call for putting more than the additional $50 million a year into women's health care. We're not even sure how the $175 million figure came to be cited in news accounts.

This acknowledgment leaves us to rate Abbott's promise to deliver $50 million more a year toward preventive health care for women.

Mark this an Abbott Promise KEPT.

Promise Kept — The original promise is mostly or completely fulfilled.

Our Sources

News story, "Abbott unveils $175 million women's healthcare plan in Houston," the Houston Chronicle, Sept. 10, 2014

News blog post, "Greg Abbott touts $175M new spending for health care," Trail Blazers blog, the Dallas Morning News, Sept. 10, 2014

News story, "Abbott Unveils New Health Policy Proposal," the Texas Tribune, Sept. 10, 2014

Document, "Governor Abbott's Bicentennial Blueprint Legislation," Gov. Greg Abbott, June 2015

Document, "GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR THE 2016-17 BIENNIUM Eighty-fourth Texas Legislature Regular Session, 2015 Text of Conference Committee Report on House Bill No. 1," posted by Legislative Budget Board, Oct. 12, 2015

Truth-O-Meter article, "Anti-abortion leader says Texas funding women's health services at historically high levels," PolitiFact Texas, Sept. 4, 2015

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