New Paper Argues Attacks on Family Planning Funds Limit Affordable Care Act's Effectiveness

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Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn writes that the ACA's success depends on continued support for Title X.

In the short term, without clinics to serve the growing insured population, the promise of coverage will be meaningless.

Attacks on family planning services in the U.S. have only intensified since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. With increased access to health insurance through the new law's exchanges, some suggest that Title X funding for family planning is less necessary than it once was. But in her new white paper, “The Title X Factor: Why the Health of America’s Women Depends on More Funding for Family Planning,” Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn argues that Title X-funded clinics remain an essential part of the nation’s health infrastructure, especially for young and lower-income women, and that increased funding for Title X will maximize the impact of the ACA.

Flynn looks at the impact of Title X-funded clinics, which from 1980 to 2000 included preventing an estimated 20 million unintended pregnancies and providing over 100 million cancer screenings. Family planning also has significant cost benefits: “services provided at Title X-supported clinics accounted for an estimated $3.4 billion in savings in 2008 alone.” Many of the patients who use Title X-funded clinics are currently uninsured, as the clinics are required to provide services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. But even with access to insurance, Flynn says that demand will only go up.

“In the short term, without clinics to serve the growing insured population, the promise of coverage will be meaningless,” writes Flynn. “For now and for the foreseeable future Title X remains necessary to provide patient care, to open clinic doors and maintain facilities, to hire and train staff, and to fund programs that meet the unique needs of specific populations, including adolescents.”

Maintaining Title X funding is particularly important because the ACA does not provide true universal coverage. Between states that have refused the Medicaid expansion, grandfathered plans, and people who cycle on and off insurance due to life circumstances (known as “churning”), the Congressional Budget Office estimates that nearly 30 million individuals will remain uninsured as of 2016, and into the future. For those individuals, Title X-funded clinics will remain essential for access to family planning services.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where she examines the impact of budget cuts and funding restrictions on women’s access to reproductive health care in the United States. Andrea received her MPA and MPH from Columbia University, where she focused on international policy and sexual and reproductive health. She is available for interviews. For more information, please contact Tim Price.

About the Roosevelt Institute

The Roosevelt Institute is an ideas and leadership organization founded in the belief that America should offer opportunity to all. To develop a new social contract for the 21st century, we advance the work of progressive economists and social policy thinkers and support an emerging generation of leaders as they design solutions to the nation’s most pressing issues. For more information, visit us at http://www.rooseveltinstitute.org or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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