Medicaid provides critical preventive and primary reproductive health care services to women struggling to make ends meet, including birth control.
Benefits for Women
It is widely known that access to contraception advances women’s health. Family planning lowers maternal and infant morbidity; reduces rates of cervical cancer, STIs, and unintended pregnancies; and is tied to reducing health disparities among different groups. Pregnancy planning, in turn, has well-documented benefits for women's educational achievements, careers, and income.
Saving Taxpayer Dollars
Investment in women's health services not only provide women with more control over their health and lives, but is also a great deal for taxpayers.
Medicaid can be the difference between getting health care or going without
Nationwide, Medicaid covers health care services for 1 in 10 women. Half of Planned Parenthood patients rely on Medicaid coverage to access affordable, preventive care, including lifesaving cancer screenings and birth control.
For millions of women, Medicaid could make the difference between getting access to cancer screenings and birth control, or going without. Studies have shown that women with Medicaid coverage are more likely than uninsured women to have received a Pap test in the last two years.
States that expanded coverage of family planning services under Medicaid have seen excellent outcomes — both in public health and reduced costs. A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that states that substantially expanded Medicaid coverage to adults had a 6.1% decline in death rates in people aged 20-64.
In terms of how Medicaid helps reproductive health, take it from the Guttmacher Institute:
- Every dollar spent on reproductive health care — including birth control, STI/HIV testing, and Pap smears — saves taxpayers $7 in the long-run.
- Despite clear progress in public health outcomes thanks to investments in family planning, there were still 1.5 million unintended pregnancies in 2010 across the country.
- The public costs of unintended pregnancy amounted to $21 billion in 2010 — but expanding eligibility for public family planning services and women’s access to birth control would cut this by two thirds. In other words, taxpayers would save $15.5 billion each year in helping women avoid unintended pregnancies (and that’s on top of savings from other family planning services that help women stay healthy).