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Family planning saves money

It does a lot more than that, of course, but in these times we may as well highlight the financial aspect of it.

A state and federal program that provides free family planning and related health screenings to low-income women ages 18 to 44 saved Texas $40 million in 2008 — a financial boon during cash-strapped times, advocates said Tuesday.

State Rep. Mike Villarreal and Healthy Futures of Texas President Dr. Janet Realini unveiled the findings of a recent Health and Human Services Commission study that examined the cost savings of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

The program, which began in 2007, is aimed at reducing Medicaid-paid births and unplanned pregnancies. The state invested $2 million a year, which the federal government matched.

“In the end, we prevented 10,000 unplanned pregnancies and reduced state and federal Medicaid spending on childbirths by $113 million per year,” said Villarreal. “That’s smart government. But this is not just about dollars and sense. It’s about changing lives. This program helps women delay pregnancy until they’re ready to care for a child.”

You can read the full report here (PDF). As Rep. Villarreal says on his blog, this really ought to be a no-brainer. I don’t know what else there is that needs to be said.

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