Citizen Wausau

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Family Planning Waiver Press Release

by on December 9th, 2007

It is clear that this is a hot button issue right now, and as such, we wanted to provide even more material for the discussion. Yesterday I received this press release, and I wanted to pass it along. I find it fascinating that our own Russ Feingold has taken such a leadership position on something like this, and applaud his effort.

They say that we need leaders in this time in America, and maybe Russ is just that guy. At least we know he acts on conscience.  He is a home grown boy, who seems to speak his mind.

WFPRHA

Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
719 North Third Ave., Wausau, WI 54401
(715)675-9858 – fax (715)675-5475

email NewmanL@FPHS.org
December 7, 2007
Contact: Jackie Bodden, President (608) 348-9766
Lon Newman, Public Affairs Chair (715) 675-9858 ext 329

Family Planning Association Joins Feingold in Call to Protect Women’s Health Program
The Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (WFPRHA) expressed gratitude to Senator Russ Feingold today for joining Senators and Representatives from 26 states to make Medicaid- provided family planning services more readily and easily available.

In a letter written by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), legislators from states which currently provide family planning services through Medicaid 1115 Family Planning Waivers, including Wisconsin, requested that House and Senate leadership act immediately to ease the regulatory burden being imposed on states who seek to offer these services.
Approximately 75,000 Wisconsin women are currently enrolled in the state’s Medicaid Family Planning Waiver program which is set to expire on December 31st, 2007. WFPRHA president, Jackie Bodden, expressed her appreciation to Senator Feingold and called on the rest of the Wisconsin delegation to support this effort to streamline the process. “Because of this program, women across Wisconsin have better access to health care. But right now, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services is locked in an 11th hour do-or-die negotiation process with an administration whose antagonism toward family planning programs is well-demonstrated. That process is needlessly putting the health care of tens
of thousands of women at risk. Senators Feingold and Clinton deserve our thanks and our support for their efforts to protect women’s health by providing preventive primary health care.”

In the joint letter to House and Senate Leadership, legislators described the approval process Wisconsin is currently going through:

Unfortunately, the current waiver process has proven increasingly unworkable. Over the last
decade, only seven of the 20 proposals for income-based eligibility expansions approved by CMS have been approved within a year of when they were submitted by the state. Six applications took between one and two years for approval, and seven languished for two years or more before finally being approved. Particularly given the well-established value of these demonstrations, the current approval and re-approval required under federal law wastes critical staff resources, hamstrings states’ ability to meet changing needs, and limits our efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies and meet reproductive health needs in our states.

WFPRHA Public Affairs Chair, Lon Newman, said that Senator Feingold’s joint call to action could not be more timely or more necessary. Newman said that Wisconsin’s Family Planning Waiver prevents more costly Medicaid-paid births by preventing unintended pregnancies. “Wisconsin taxpayers save an estimated $12 million annually through this program,” he said, “and the Congressional Budget Office has estimated an annual federal savings of up to $400 million by providing better access to preventive primary health care…better health care for less money – it’s hard to beat that.”

Bodden said “WFPRHA is asking Wisconsin’s federal legislators and Governor Doyle to join Senator Feingold and Senator Clinton’s call to the leadership to sustain programs like Wisconsin’s Medicaid Family Planning Waiver and to extend those services to all 50 states and territories.”

Newman added: “Under Senator Clinton and Feingold’s proposal, the states would have flexibility to design their family planning programs. In Wisconsin, we have a proven program that deserves to be continued.”

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