At the risk of giving this ridiculous non-issue still more exposure today, I thought I’d point out a couple of basic facts.First of all, the family-planning program that Pelosi supports expanding in the stimulus bill was created in 1972 under the leadership of Republican president Richard Nixon.
What’s being proposed is an expansion in the number of states that can use Medicaid money, with a federal match, to help low-income women prevent unwanted pregnancies. Of the 26 states that already have Medicaid waivers for family planning, eight are led by Republican governors (AL, FL, MS, SC, CA, LA, MN and RI — a ninth, MO, had a GOP governor until this past November). If this policy is truly a taxpayer gift to “the abortion industry,” as John Boehner and House Republicans claim, where are the GOP governors promising to end the program in their states?
Additionally, the process of obtaining a waiver for Medicaid family-planning coverage is extremely cumbersome. A letter written by Wisconsin health regulators in 2007 noted that some states have had to wait for as long as two years before their request was approved. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that eliminating the waiver requirement would save states $400 million over 10 years.
Does all this sound scandalous? I didn’t think so.
Late Update: So it is possible for this non-issue to get more ridiculous. Thanks to the reader who sent this in.