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PRESS STATEMENT: HOUSE’S PASSAGE OF MEDICAID CUTS UNDERMINES BASIC HEALTH CARE SERVICES FOR AMERICANS



Wayne C. Shields, President and CEO
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)


For Immediate Release
February 2,  2006

Contact:
Ann McCall
(202) 466-3825
communications@arhp.org

The members, board, and staff of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) are greatly concerned that the cuts in spending on Medicaid narrowly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday (216 -214) will negatively affect the health and well-being of America’s low- and moderate-income families. These disturbing reductions will allow states to scale back or eliminate some Medicaid services that currently are guaranteed under Federal law, including family planning.

Medicaid is the cornerstone of America's health care safety net and the largest source of public funding for family planning services. Women in particular depend on Medicaid, making up three-quarters of all people covered by this program. For the first time since Medicaid began, these new budget cuts allow states to deny contraception to poor women and charge co-payments for prescription contraceptives for all women. These changes put essential, cost-effective family planning services at risk.

These extreme budget cuts are in direct contrast to President Bush’s pronounced commitment to health care expressed during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. The House’s action is very unfortunate given increases in defense spending for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the unprecedented level of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans over the past several years. The poorest Americans are being forced to bear the largest burden of these cuts. This action by the House represents yet another example of policymakers being out of step with the health care needs of all Americans.

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The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) is the leading source for trusted medical education and information on reproductive and sexual health. ARHP educates health care providers, informs consumers, and helps shape public policy. ARHP is a non-profit membership association composed of highly qualified and committed experts in reproductive health. ARHP members are health professionals in clinical practice, education, research, and advocacy and they include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, researchers, educators, pharmacists, and other professionals in reproductive health. To learn more, visit: http://www.arhp.org.