By Kat Martinez | The Public Forum| The Salt Lake Tribune
As a mentor to teen moms, I am extremely grateful family doctor Rep. Raymond Ward is introducing legislation to offer coverage for family planning. The Health and Human Services committee members at the Capitol should enthusiastically support the family planning services amendments by Ward.
There are thousands of Utahns who fall through the coverage gap. Over 200,000 Utah women need publicly funded planning services. A Medicaid state plan amendment could allow family planning coverage for those who don’t qualify for full Medicaid benefits. The Medicaid waiver could supply long-acting birth control for low-income women at a low cost to the state and help women and families climb out of poverty by preventing unintended pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages and significantly reducing health care costs to taxpayers.
Iowa and Colorado have already had great success with similar programs. Data show that outcomes from similar initiatives result in stronger families and less burden on the government and less government involvement in the long term. In addition to preventing 2,000 unintended pregnancies, and 690 abortions, Utah can also expect to save $822,400 per year in state general funds. Any legislation that is fiscally responsible and reduces abortion should be overwhelmingly supported by all Utah representatives.