The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Planned Parenthood: Brannon Jordan, 202-973-4882
National Women's Law Center: Adrienne Ammerman, 202-588-5180

Planned Parenthood and National Women's Law Center Applaud Governors for Urging Expansion of Medicaid Family Planning State Option in Health Care Reform

Governors Cite Positive Impact of Family Planning on Women’s Health


Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the National
Women's Law Center (NWLC) today applauded 16 governors for submitting a
letter to congressional leaders urging them to support the inclusion of
the Medicaid Family Planning State Option in health care reform. This
critical provision provides basic preventive health care, including
breast and cervical cancer screenings and contraception, to millions of
women and is currently in President Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget.

"We applaud Governor Ted Strickland for championing this
letter and the governors who joined him in expressing support for the
Medicaid Family Planning State Option," said Cecile Richards, PPFA
president. "We know firsthand the lifesaving care these programs
provide to women and families across the country. And governors
recognize that ensuring the expansion of Medicaid family planning is
vital to any comprehensive health care reform effort."

"Especially during these difficult economic times, far too
many families are forced to sacrifice health care to help make ends
meet," said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of NWLC. "As the
governors recognize, foregoing basic health care can have serious
health and economic consequences for women and their families. This
provision will make essential family planning and basic health care
services more accessible and affordable to millions of women."

Governor Strickland (D-OH) championed the sign-on letter and was joined by Governors Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Chet Culver (D-IA), John deJongh (D-Virgin Islands), Jim Doyle (D-WI), Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), Christine Gregoire (D-WA), Timothy Kaine (D-VA), Theodore Kulongoski (D-OR), Martin O'Malley (D-MD), Jack Markell (D-DE), David Paterson (D-NY), Beverly Perdue (D-NC), Pat Quinn (D-IL), Bill Richardson (D-NM) and Bill Ritter, Jr. (D-CO).

Currently, 27 states have sought and received federal waivers to
expand eligibility for family planning services. States have repeatedly
demonstrated that expanding health care coverage for women in this way
also results in significant cost savings. Expanding the Medicaid Family
Planning State Option would allow states to expand Medicaid coverage
for family planning services, without a waiver, to those who don't
otherwise qualify for full Medicaid benefits. These cost savings could
help states avoid additional cuts to critical health programs and allow
them to use the savings for other pressing needs.

The Medicaid Family Planning State Option will also save federal
funds. The Congressional Budget Office determined that the Medicaid
Family Planning State Option saves the federal government $200 million
over five years and $700 million over 10 years.

Voters strongly support efforts to make contraception more
accessible and affordable as part of a comprehensive approach to
reproductive health issues. According to public opinion research
conducted in 2007 by Hart Research on behalf of the NWLC and PPFA, an
overwhelming majority (73 percent) strongly favor making it easier for
women at all income levels to obtain contraceptives.

"The Medicaid Family Planning State Option is a proven
approach to expanding coverage for basic women's health care, while at
the same time generating significant cost savings for states and the
federal government," said Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. "In states like
Ohio, this new option will improve women's access to quality,
affordable preventive health care, such as breast and cervical cancer

PPFA and the NWLC join these state governors in urging Congress to
take swift action to pass this commonsense measure as part of health
care reform legislation.

Planned Parenthood is working to ensure that women's health is a priority in health care reform
and that any reform effort includes two important pieces: access to
comprehensive reproductive health care and access to essential
community providers within the network. This will ensure that basic
preventive care, such as contraception, Pap tests, and other cancer
screenings, are covered and that women are able to continue to access
trusted health care providers in the communities where they live.

NWLC's project, Reform Matters: Making Real Progress for Women and Health Care
started in early 2008, empowers women to be vocal advocates in the
fight for progressive health care reform. As an active member of
several leading progressive health care coalitions, including Health
Care for America Now! (HCAN) and the Herndon Alliance, NWLC brings a
unique perspective to the table by advocating for the specific needs of

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is many things to many people. We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to millions of women, men, and young people.