Sunday, August 20, 2006

Poor Women's BETTER Access to Contraception Could Save US $1.5 Billion

The Alan Guttmacher Institute recently conducted a study* estimating the number of abortions, unplanned pregnancies, and unplanned births that can be prevented if there was equal access to contraception provided by Medicaid. As of now, Medicaid can cover prenatal and limited postpartum care for poor families that are otherwise uneligible for Medicaid benefits, which are families who earn less than 133% of the poverty level. Some states have expanded their benefits to include family planning services to families who make up to 200% of the federal poverty threshold with favorable results, since pregnancy-related care is much more expensive than pregnancy-reducing measures (surprise!). The study also estimates how much federal money can be saved if Medicaid benefits expanded to include the same population's access to contraception. According to the results, the following could happen three years after the implimentation of the program:

  • "secure women’s access to contraception and allow some women who were using less effective contraceptive methods to switch to more effective methods;
  • "prevent between 375,000–720,000 unplanned pregnancies, 180,000–345,000 unplanned births and 150,000–290,000 abortions;
  • "generate significant cost savings ranging from $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion for federal and state governments."

*Yes, the article is 84 pages long. The Executive Summary is an overview of everything, and the first four chapters go more in depth. Everything else is tables and junk.


Drew said...

So shouldn't the title say cost instead of save then? Anyway, when it comes to saving (potential) babies' lives, money doesn't matter. Everytime you use a condom, it's another baby that'll never be.

Emily said...

The title reflects the study's results, not the way things are going currently.

Drew said...

But I thought the study was saying that good access to contraception would save money. I'm confused. =/

Emily said...

I'm a moron, and I typed this big thing explaining the study's methodolgy and stuff. As far as I'm concerned, poor women don't have access to contraception if it's extremely limited access. Anyone can go to a pharmacy or OB/GYN and ask for contraception, but it's so costly for poor people that it might as well not even exist.

I'll change the title to "Poor Women's Better Access to Contraception Could Save US $1.5 Billion" if that'll clear up the confusion.