A new report from the Guttmacher Institute finds that states' publicly-funded contraceptive services offer broad and far-reaching benefits.
The report looked at data from 1997 to 2011, during which time 22 states expanded family planning eligibility under Medicaid for women (and, in some cases, men) who would not otherwise be eligible for the program. Today this Medicaid expansion program serves some 2.7 million Americans.
The data shows that the expansion program "increased women’s contraceptive use, increased their use of more effective methods and improved their continuity of use—all important factors in reducing high rates of unintended pregnancy among low-income women." The program led to measurable declines in unplanned and teen pregnancies and bolstered the health and economic well-being of families.
"The body of evidence is clear," said Adam Sonfield, one of the authors of the report. "Expanding eligibility for contraceptive services under Medicaid has enabled women to access the services they want and need, while reducing the toll on federal and state taxpayers. As if that weren’t enough, these expansions have also resulted in innovative outreach and enrollment practices, which can serve as models for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act."
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