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Zer Netmouse
January 28th, 2009
11:22 am


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Oh Noes!!! Someone wanted to put preventive health care into the stimulus bill!!! Idiots must block!
As has been noted in comments, the economic stimulus bill was perhaps not the best place to try to reform social policy about family planning services, funding and availability. But please do let congress and the white house know you support those concepts in general, and you hope to see them passed soon, even if in separate legislation.

Urgent: Family planning stripped from stimulus bill

Dear Anne,

I'm stunned. We've just confirmed news reports that provisions
to expand access to affordable family planning will be stripped
from the economic stimulus bill. Removing this provision is a
betrayal of millions of low-income women, and it will place an
even greater burden on state budgets that are already strained
to the breaking point.

We need you to take action now by calling the White House and
voicing your support for the Medicaid Family Planning State
Option. Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 to
speak out now -- click here for more details on what to say, and
to let us know you called:

I was frustrated when I saw a parade of legislators and talking
heads on television this weekend spreading false information
about this commonsense bill. House Minority Leader John Boehner
even claimed that the provision would cost millions of dollars
-- when the fact is it would save the federal government $700
million over 10 years.

I was even more shocked to read today that congressional leaders
have taken these false arguments seriously and will remove
family planning provisions from the stimulus bill. It's time for
Washington to hear from the millions of Americans who support
commonsense policies that invest in health care and help ease
the economic downturn.

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 -- it's a quick and easy
way to make a big impact. Click here for more details on what to
say, and to report back to Planned Parenthood on your call:

A phone call is the best way to make your voice heard, but if
you can't make the call, you can send an e-mail here:

Let me be clear. The Medicaid Family Planning State Option is a
simple way to make health care affordable for millions of
Americans. It would do two important things:

1. It would allow millions of women to obtain basic health
care. It would extend safety-net health care coverage for
millions who are losing their jobs and health insurance in the
economic downturn. Studies estimate that 2.3 million low-income
women would receive coverage under this provision by 2014, and
500,000 women would be able to avoid unintended pregnancies.

2. In these difficult times, this provision would save states
money. State budgets are being squeezed by the economic
downturn, just as millions are losing their jobs and health
insurance. The Medicaid Family Planning State Option not only
would help states extend their coverage, it would generate
savings for states and the federal government by expanding
access to preventive care.

Please, take two minutes now to help us raise a public outcry.
Click here for details you can use on your call, and to let us
know you spoke out:

Thank you so much for speaking out, and please stay tuned for
more details on this critical issue.


Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America


(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:January 28th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
I wasn't able to get through yet -- busy on all three attempts so far.

It's still worth trying, though, because just busying out their phone lines is a pretty strong statement.
[User Picture]
Date:January 28th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
Ahhh... at present the Government isn't interested in SAVING money. At present they are only interested in SPENDING money - LOTS of it and FAST! Perhaps you could re-work your appeal to show how enacting this provision could help EXPAND the economy or COST more money in the short term and put people to work NOW, but save money in the long term? (But just mention the savings really fast in a whisper.)???
Date:January 28th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
The cost comparison between paying for a patient's birth control rather than paying for a patient's prenatal care, pregnancy, birth, and then pediatric care for the baby... it should be pretty obvious there are some savings there.

Plus, gee, maybe if women on Medicare are allowed to control their own fertility, we won't be increasing the Medicare covered population quite so fast?
[User Picture]
Date:January 28th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
While parts of the stimulus package are obviously aimed at putting money out into the economy, I don't think the new government members are blind to the need to ultimately pare down spending and reduce the horrible load of national debt the Republican administration built up in the past 8 years. That this portion of the bill would in fact satisfy both aims is a brilliant point. Thank you for supporting the intentions of the originally penned legislation. I hope you will consider calling or emailing to express your support.
[User Picture]
Date:January 29th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
Um, Democrats and/or Obama paring down spending? What planet do you live on? You do realize this "stimulus bill" is $819 billion. Billion. As in 6% of our entire GDP for the entire year. As in $2,730 from each and every one of us.

At least those big spender Republicans unanimously voted against this monstrosity in the House.
[User Picture]
Date:January 29th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
Every action is only appropriate or inappropriate in context.

Bush (and congress) added $4.3 trillion to the national debt for years when we didn't have to.

I'm listening to economists all over the place agree that some sort of stimulus -not just tax cuts, which will get used for paying down debt and not for new consumer spending, but stimulus in the form of spending - is necessary right now.

Just because Obama and his cabinet are trying to respond to the advice of economists regarding how to stop the current downward spiral of the economy, that doesn't mean they don't also have the long-term health of the national budget in mind.

What do you propose in terms of specific changes or alternatives to this Bill? have you gone to whitehouse.gov to share your thoughts?
Date:January 29th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
At least it isn't getting flushed down the toilet in Iraq.
Date:January 28th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Without getting into the merits of government-subsidized contraception (which I do recognize), there are good reasons not to put those provisions into this bill.

This stimulus bill is supposed to introduce temporary, targeted spending and tax-cuts, for the purpose of promoting economic growth. It is not supposed to be a vehicle for long-term changes to social policy. These provisions have been proposed before, and there is considerable opposition to them among Republicans. While attaching them to this bill might get them to pass, ramming them through in such a fashion would torpedo President Obama's efforts to reduce partisan rancor. Yes, such tactics were used by the Republicans (and the Democrats) in the past, but that doesn't justify them.

These provisions don't need to be part of an emergency stimulus bill. They can (and I'm sure, will) be proposed again in their own bill, whereupon they will receive more meaningful and appropriate debate than they would if they were introduced now. There are a lot of issues that it's worth having that debate over, including what should be covered (Contraception? Fertility? Abortion?). In all likelihood, the votes will be there to pass it, and having the debate will probably lead to a better bill, and generate less hostility in the process.
[User Picture]
Date:January 28th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
All Good points. It still rackles to see stupidity holding ground on the airwaves. But I'll post a comment at the top.
Date:January 28th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
There are a lot of earmarks in this bill that shouldn't have been there. But allowing the Religious Right to block this particular one, after they've spat upon the poor and women for eight years, is not tolerable.

Should it have been there? No, and neither should a lot of other stuff. Now that it's there, though, it would be a slap in the face to many of Obama's supporters (including me) to take it out. It's a very, very bad gesture.
Date:January 28th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
"...allowing the Religious Right to block this particular one, after they've spat upon the poor and women for eight years, is not tolerable."

Such bitterness is understandable, and not without cause. But I don't see why anyone should feel betrayed by Obama on this. He's not changing his position on anything; he's just trying to limit this bill to items that aren't going to start a partisan shooting war, so that it gets passed quickly enough to do some good. That's precisely what he said he'd do during the campaign.
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