Letters to the Editor

Health access, outcomes decline under program

I am writing in response to The Gazette’s Dec. 11 article “Iowa DHS to map where family planning services needed.” It’s alarming to see a program with 10,000-plus participants drop to only more than 1,000 in a two-year period. The sharp decline happened as a result of the state creating a family planning program and excluding health centers that provide abortions.

What has happened to those 9,000 people? Where are they now getting health care? The answer is they probably are going without. We know it’s not at Planned Parenthood, which was excluded from the new program. The state says Medicaid. While the legislature allocated $3 million for its family planning program, that money is largely going unused and state officials don’t know what happened to the unspent dollars. Meanwhile, the privatized Medicaid system is a disaster that has left doctors unpaid and patients unable to easily access needed services.

All of this leaves Iowa with 86 percent fewer people accessing the program and a sharp increase in STIs. The program covers testing and treatment of STIs. How high do the numbers have to rise before the state remedies this public health crisis?

When it comes to health care, Iowans cannot afford to prevent people from accessing health care or let viable resources go unused.

Erin Owen

Cedar Rapids

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