Cutting Title X causes negative repercussions
Yet again, members of the GOP are on the offensive against government-sponsored family planning programs. The latest threat comes from Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., whose proposed budget bill for 2012 aims to ax 79 programs he considers “wasteful.” Unsurprisingly, this includes Title X, which funds family planning services for low-income citizens. There is, however, a fatal flaw in the GOP’s attacks against Title X. Though they consider it wasteful, it’s actually a tremendous money-saver for the taxpayers.
The total Medicaid cost of a birth came out to roughly $12,613 in 2008. One has to admit that is a pretty huge amount to ask the taxpayers to shoulder. However, Title X is a way to prevent such major drains on taxpayer money from occurring. In opposition to the relatively high costs of birth, consider that it only costs taxpayers a relatively small figure to fund Title X’s distribution of contraceptives — namely, $257 per person receiving said contraceptives. If we eliminate Title X, we eliminate the distribution of these contraceptives and other family planning services. If we do that, we likely increase the amount of low-income births, which leads to more $12,613 bills for citizens to foot. Take a step backward and look at the bigger picture, and Title X starts to look even more valuable. The government only spends $300 million a year to fund Title X, and that ends up saving taxpayers a total of $3.4 billion. Sounds like a pretty good investment, not the wasteful extravagance that the GOP makes it out to be.
This is clearly a situation where the GOP is letting their ideals override their pragmatic decisions. While they should be working to balance the budget and help America reign in its costs to cut debt, what they are instead doing is attacking a program that would end up causing more financial woes for the country if it were eliminated. We’re not surprised, of course. Family planning programs have always been favorite targets of Republican politicians. But now is especially not the time for such destructive decisions. The U.S. needs to be saving money, not throwing it away in fits of idealistic ecstasy.