Stimulus Finalized Without Medicaid Family Planning Expansion

Well, the other shoe has dropped.  The economic stimulus package has been finalized, and it does not include the straightforward provision allowing states to extend Medicaid coverage for family planning services to low-income residents without first obtaining a time-consuming waiver from the federal government.  That’s all the provision would have done — and yet Republican members of Congress, and soon President Obama, acted like the money would go to showering condoms down upon elementary school children. 

Women are losing their jobs; with their jobs, they say goodbye to their health insurance; with that, their ability to afford contraception.  As they downsize and plan how to cover costs in the future, doesn’t it seem like a good idea for them to know how many kids they’re including in the household budget?

The Congressional Budget Office concluded that spending on Medicaid would have a salutary effect on the economy — a CBO report found the House version of the stimulus would have a "noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years, with much of the mandatory spending for Medicaid and other programs likely to occur in the next 19 to 20 months," CQ Today reported.  If we want investment in family planning to pay off economically, let’s do it now.

"The Medicaid Family
Planning State Option fully belonged in the economic recovery package,"
said Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center. "The
Republican leadership opposition to the provision shows how out of
touch they are with what it takes to ensure the economic survival of
working women and their families."

Sure, the Republicans are out-of-touch — but what about our President?  This economic stimulus plan was meant to be broad-reaching and address crisis needs.  The White House and the Democratic majority in Congress have now deemed family planning to be outside of the stimulus plan’s broach reach and not a crisis need.  When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the inclusion, her talking points weren’t burnished, and no other elected officials lined up behind her.  How can that help a pro-family planning Congress and the administration later, when they finally get around to trying to pass other bills that expand contraceptive access?

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  • invalid-0

    Family planning would help a lot. It beats the current low income trap of have another kid and get some more welfare which is just eventually going to be totally unfeasible.

  • invalid-0

    Since when do we need the federal government to plan for us, to think for us? Folks, if you can’t afford birth control do NOT have sex. If you get pregnant and don’t want the child then give it to someone who does, you can even request to be part of the child’s life in an open adoption. The government does not need to make these decisions for us. Babies are not mistakes, they are people. If it is your body and you have the right to it, then the time to make that decision is before you have sex, not during or after. If you don’t want a baby DON’T have sex, the world will not end.

    • invalid-0

      Babies are not a punishment for sex. Sex is not bad; babies are not inherently good. Both just exist. Planned babies are a joy; unwanted children present a burden to some and a happy relief to adoptive parents, if they are lucky enough to find them. And we all know how many ‘unlucky’ children end up in the foster care system or in orphanages. They do not deserve the fate they have been handed by a lack of family planning on the part of the parents who made them.

      The fact that we can separate sex from the previously endured ‘inevitability’ of pregnancy represents progress for the human race. No longer shackled by fear, people can express their affection for their mates, by behaving responsibly when they have sex. The idea that people just won’t or ‘shouldn’t’ have sex is both ludicrous and childish.

      Sex is as much part of one’s life as eating and getting a good night’s rest. In fact, it often gives one a very good night’s rest. ;)

      What we should be questioning is why family planning is part of the stimulus package. What the hell is in this package, anyway?

    • invalid-0

      You are exactly right. I am totally amazed the number of people that want the government to take care of all their needs. Its simple, no sex = no baby. If you want to have sex, condoms are not the most expensive items in the world. But, for Gods sake don’t expect the government to provide them. Andrew Gout

  • invalid-0

    If you don’t want a baby DON’T have sex, the world will not end.

    Sex is a biological fact for human beings. Poor people ought to be able to express their affection just as much as rich people. Sex is NOT just about babies. I do not want any babies and have been having sex for 10 years and hope to continue for a long time. This should be everyone’s right, rich or poor.

  • invalid-0

    Since when do we need the federal government to plan for us?

    When a pregnant woman goes into labor and shows up in the emergency room, the hospital has to admit her. By law.

    And if she doesn’t have insurance or Medicaid … the taxpayers get to pay for her delivery and any costs associated with the birth. Including dealing with any complications that might arise from the fact that she didn’t have any prenatal care.

    The taxpayers pay at some point … wouldn’t you rather pay for birth control pills than neonatal ICU?

  • amanda-marcotte

    I thought that was only true for sex workers.  I strongly disagree that sex is a reward you get for being rich.  It’s always been a part of people’s lives, rich or poor, and it’s bizarre that there’s this new belief that the poor shouldn’t have sex.  Since when?

  • z3ncat

    1. Sex is, as someone has already stated, a biological fact.  Some experts believe the drive for sex may be secondary only to our drive to survive.  Sex is also highly important in maintaining many relationships.  And as every reliable study has proven, just saying "DON’T HAVE SEX!" does NOTHING to prevent people from having sex anyway.


    2. There are over 200,000 children available for ADOPTION – not just in foster care, but able and willing to be adopted – in the U.S.A. alone.  And adoption doesn’t address the fact that pregnancy and childbirth are both expensive and not only fail to offer any real stimulus to the economy, but can be financially detrimental or devestating even to those living ABOVE the poverty line.


    3. The right to make personal medical decisions and to control what happens to one’s body don’t disappear when consent to sex is given.


    4. Sex does NOT equal procreation.  It is possible to have sex without procreating, and it is possible to procreate without having sex. 

  • invalid-0

    This isn’t about rich or poor. Nor is it about telling people they can or can’t have sex. It’s about people taking responsibility for their actions. Reality sucks, but there are consequences for those actions. Everyone knows the risk for having sex married or not. If you can’t handle that risk then don’t do the action.

    For the crowd that says abstinence doesn’t work. Actually it does, no sex = no baby, no STD, etc… but I do admit that abstinence won’t work without first having self-control. 95% of people in the U.S. don’t have much self-control and why would they, we have a large government to be a net when they fall. Just look at the average household credit card balance. How many new cars do you have in your garage, do you really need that house you bought with an ARM and no interest or down payment. We live in a world where instant gratification is seen as a right. I’m sorry, but no where in the constitution of the United States of America do I see the right to have anything I want when I want it.

    I’m sure I am in the minority because I believe in personal responsibility, where as most people believe that they are entitled to make any decision they want and someone will be there to bail them out (mainly the government ~ who gets their money from me). I do have compassion for lower income families that struggle enormous amounts of hardships and adding another child into that mix is just asking for more trouble. I get that abortion and free contraceptives could make life more manageable for some. The problem is that it’s only a band-aid. We need to resolve the real problem.

    Life isn’t fair it won’t ever be fair and we spend so much time and effort to make the impossible happen. Why don’t we as a nation work outside of the government to raise the standard of living for the bottom 5%. We should spend money to give them more opportunities and more education. Not handouts. We as a people are much more efficient and effective then the government will ever be. I doubt that 10cents for every dollar you give the government is actually used productively. At a non-profit organization around 90 cents per dollar is used in a productive manner. Cut my taxes in half and I would be 1,000% more likely to give more of my money to a productive non-profit organization to help raise the standard of living. Now that’s a stimulus plan. Look what we did for hurricane Katrina and the tsunami victims. If we did that same thing over the next 10 years for the bottom 5% in our country we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Whether you agree with me or not you must admit that we as a nation have become lazy and look for the quick and easy fix instead of working together to find a solution. I challenge everyone who reads this to step back from the politics or your agenda and think long and hard about what is best for the future of this country and the people living in it.

  • invalid-0

    I just phoned the Whitehouse and emailed in my comments in support of increase Medicaid funding for family planning. You can go to for the phone number and email comment form. Obama should not have caved in to the archaic notions of the Republican leadership. Family planning gives people the education and tools to be personally responsible for their actions. Unwanted pregancies are economically devasting, especially for low income couples. Unwanted pregnancies increase long term government spending. Why are Republicans so scared of human sexuality? Sex helps couples. It does. So let’s be responsible about it. What is there not to like about preventing unwanted pregnancy?

    An independent voter in rural Georgia.

  • invalid-0

    I agree take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Let’s start right here at home helping our legal citizens who wish to get off welfare by providing more money for education by creating a fund that can be paid back by them for education that goes beyond high school and also provide birth control so even the young mothers can get the education needed to get off welfare. This was a great country many years ago. Lets unite and bring back the country we were so proud of. This country is too rich to have our citizens uneducated homeless hungry and forced to live below poverty standards.

    Those who think being forced to have a poor – paying job or no job, be stuck in welfare role, and forced to have another child helps anyone least of all the family the new child is born into need to wake up! It helps none. The right to birth control should be just that a woman’s right.

    Birth control is a way of controlling how many times a woman wants to get pregnant. Forcing women to go through an unintended pregnancy because certain people feel it is unnecessary to provide a woman with the right to a method to control her fertility is highly discriminating to women. It is we the women who are responsible for family planning instead of the men and we being the lead majority deserve better than this. We demand to be treated better than cattle!

    The poor are poor simply because this country is selfish and has the mentality of “me me me I want”. Since when did I want become I NEED?? We can do this YES WE CAN! We raised countless millions upon millions of dollars for many disaster relief programs in the past few years. If we done so and it is clear we have, then why not raise money to educate those on welfare who want it so they can support their families and themselves welfare free?

    Why not create a fund that can be paid back by the participants to educate those who are on welfare who want the education? Some are on welfare because of the “me me me I want and don’t care about anyone but me” mentality. They were the late 70’s to early 90’s “Latchkey kids”. Well folks all those kids grew up and are now adults. What should have been expected from this yet another irresponsible selfish failed “experiment” of society?

    Johnny still can’t read so Johnny can’t get a job and no one cares about the real fact they just believe he is lazy. Now if Johnny could get the education he needed and wanted to learn to read and learn skills useful for good employment, Johnny would go to work, get off welfare supporting his family and himself. Johnny could then in turn contribute to our country’s workforce instead of being stuck in welfare program stressing over people he don’t even know hating him because he and his family are on welfare because he can’t read so he can’t get a job. Would YOU hire Johnny right now? Ah and therein lies the rub! What is the logical solution to the ever – growing problem? Educate Johnny!

    Having another child when you’re already poor does not help anyone not the family or the new child. It hurts us all. How is having another child you can’t care for help the mother, family, or society? Education does and will help! Educate those adults who want it so they can get a better – paying job, support their families, and get off welfare for good. Once they are successfully employed and off welfare they can start slowly paying back the fund so another can be educated. This can repeat with success. Help one and they can help a million.

    Believe it or not there are some very intelligent poor people. If they had a chance for more education they would take it and get off welfare. They want a hand up NOT a hand out. Give them a chance and a helping hand so they can pull themselves out. As it stands the current welfare – to – work “education” program simply is not working. They need education beyond simple refresh high school and getting a 15 – 20 hour a week job at some fast food restaurant paying a non – livable wage and has a high employee turnover. You can’t support a family on this kind of job!

    Welfare cases are at their all – time high. Since the whole economic crash which is now going into 3 years (Yes 3 years not 1 as “they” say) has sent the caseload into a near topple. Stop funding foreign programs, stop allowing illegals to remain in our country, and stop providing funds for them. Ship them home to their country of origin at their countries’ expense immediately and let their country deal with them they are not our problem. Helping our citizens is our problem. If they want to come to our country fine, but do it legally.

    Lets focus on those who are our citizens and support them instead other countries citizens. Spend the money on educating our citizens. Educate those who want it give them a hand up NOT a hand out. This is what some of them trapped on welfare really want.

    Educate the young teens that having sex comes with real responsibility for yourself. If you will not take the responsibility to protect yourself, then it is best to save sex for another phase of life. Not everyone is having sex. You can believe it or not.

    The national statistics say it all and have been for several years. On average we have sex maybe 2-3 times a month! This is for married and long term relationships. Sex is not what its all cracked up to be. If you’re not going to be with this person for long term, WHY have sex with them? WHY run the extremely high risk of pregnancy and possibility getting a disease that is incurable? If you don’t think about these things then you should. If you can’t talk about these things with the person you intend to have sex with, then this is a clear sign you should not have sex!

    The reality is keep taking things necessary to their lives and pushing this now growing %5 of poor people further into poverty and one day you will have “The French Revolution”! If you do not believe simply look around the evidence of a revolution is boiling just under the surface. Keep pushing and it will boil over with such a force it will sweep in a complete change. Heed the wake up call before it is too late. Give them a hand up by educating them or one day they will be giving YOU a hand out.

  • emily-douglas

    Thanks for calling the White House, David. If readers want talking points and contact info, you can check out RH Reality Check’s own action alert here:

  • invalid-0

    I agree wholeheartedly with this post–it isn’t about rich or poor–We definitely need to learn to take responsibility for our actions. We wouldn’t be in this huge mess if rich and poor alike would act responsibly and with respect for each other.

  • invalid-0

    No matter how much you anti-choice trolls like to obscure the issue.

  • invalid-0

    Sex is a privelige, not a right; to be used to show mutual affection for your mate. It also is used to make life. It is NOT up to the government to regulate this enjoyable physical relationship. Education is wonderful…personal responsibility is a must.

  • saraz

    With the economic crisis that we have today politicians are anxious to give solutions to this problem. Economic stimulus received lots of negative criticisms but let just hope that this could really solve the economic problem that we have. Lots of people today are affected by it. Just recently, Gary Sheffield is one of the people that will suffer from a corporate decision to downsize. Normally, major league baseball teams aren’t one of the organizations that do so, but the Detroit Tigers decided to release the veteran outfielder and designated hitter from his contract as a free agent. The Tigers are prepared to eat the salary he’s still due, about $14 million, as cash advance loans of sorts towards a future draft pick or room under the salary cap. He is one run shy of 500 career home runs, has over 1,000 career RBIs, and is a solid contender for the Hall of Fame, which makes this an unceremonious dumping of Gary Sheffield.