President’s 2010 Budget Overview Includes Medicaid Family Planning Expansion


President Obama’s 2010 "Budget Overview Document" it out, and there’s "great news" for in it for reproductive health advocates, says Tait Sye of Planned Parenthood.

While the overview is generally non-specific, it does make clear that
the Medicaid family planning expansion — which would extend Medicaid
coverage for family planning services to non-pregnant women — is
included (see page 127).  The expansion, which would enable states to extend coverage to non-pregnant women without first seeking a waiver from the federal government, was first included in the economic stimulus package.  When widely decried by Republicans, it was quickly abandoned by President Obama, who asked congressional Democrats to drop the provision.

"The inclusion of a provision to expand eligibility for Medicaid
funded family planning services is a tremendous step forward in meeting
the need for access to family planning services. Federal funding for
family planning is a common sense, common ground solution that enables
people to act responsibly, stay healthy and plan for strong families,"
Mary Jane Gallagher, president of the National Family Planning &
Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement. 
Gallagher also called for the budget to fund Title X at $700 million.

The overview is promising on a number of other sexual and reproductive health priorities, including committing to "fund[ing] models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing
medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have
become sexually active."  But the outline does not reveal whether funding for abstinence-only programming will be eliminated.  "We are cautiously optimistic about the language in
the President’s overview," says Jen Heitel Yakush, Assistant Director for Public Policy at SIECUS. "We are concerned that youth who may become
sexually active are not included in the language but we do believe that this
language reflects an end to funding for ineffective
abstinence-only-until-marriage programs."
The 2009 budget cuts funding for the Community-Based Abstinence Education program by $14 million, but sex ed advocates hope for a total zeroing-out of all abstinence-only funding streams in the 2010 budget.

Advocates expect the budget itself to be released in April.

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