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.