Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Washington's Family Planning Experiment Sees Increased Abortion, Medicaid Costs

Contact: Mary Emanuel
November 18, 2008

Ending Family Planning Programs Would Cut Costs, Decrease Abortion

Seattle, Washington -- An analysis of Washington state’s Take Charge pilot program reveals an increase in both abortion and tax dollars spent on abortion and childbirth services. The investigation by the independent web site Abortion in Washington shows the number of abortions performed by the program's leading partner, Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, (PPWW) has been increasing 11% per year. Additionally, the intended cost-savings are not being realized.

Take Charge is a Medicaid section 1115 Waiver program initiated in 2001 to provide free contraceptives to low-income women not already covered under Medicaid. It was originally funded for 5 years in 2001, then extended for 3 more years, and comes up for renewal in 2009.

“The state is facing serious financial challenges. The last thing we need are government programs that do more harm than good and are actually failing to deliver the promised benefits”, said Mary Emanuel, assistant publisher of Abortion in Washington.

When the program began, the state was paying out $200 million a year for childbirth services under Medicaid. That figure has shot up 50%, to $300 million under the program. The state of Washington is now at a point where almost half of all births in the state are paid for by Medicaid.

“Taxpayers are supposed to be saving money and there are supposed to be fewer abortions but with this program we are seeing the exact opposite,” added Emanuel. “With the tight budgets King County and the state government are facing, ending family planning programs like Take Charge at Community Health Centers would be a win-win for everybody.”

The contraceptives are distributed through Planned Parenthood offices as well as Community Health Clinics on the theory that with more women using contraceptives the number of unwanted pregnancies will decline, thus leading to a decline in the number of high cost Medicaid-paid births. As the data shows, this has not been the outcome.

"Given the budget crisis facing government at all levels, ending this taxpayer largesse to Planned Parenthood is long overdue," said Dan Kennedy CEO of Human Life of Washington.

It seems that the only one benefitting from Take Charge in Washington is PPWW, which has seen their annual revenues skyrocket from about $17 million to near $35 million. (Download a .pdf of PPWW's 2006 IRS 990 form here.) A spokesman for PPWW admitted earlier this year that it had indeed used the profits from the Take Charge business to open up new abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood’s own annual report reveals that fully 70% of their 150,000 client visits were funded by Take Charge. The state is then left to cover the cost of an abortion or a Medicaid birth. Planned Parenthood is under investigation nationwide for Medicaid fraud in the illegal profiteering from contraceptive sales.


For more information contact: Mary Emanuel, Abortion in Washington, http://abortionstate.blogspot.com/

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