Letters to the Editor

Iowa's failed family planning program

I am writing in response to the Nov. 11 report by the Iowa Department of Human Services on Iowa’s family planning program. I agree with DHS officials that it is good that more low-income Iowans are receiving family planning services under the Medicaid expansion. The report, however, glosses over the fact that potentially thousands of moderate-income people who were once covered under the state family planning program are no longer receiving family planning services like birth control, STD testing and cancer screenings through the program.

To qualify for the state family planning program, people must have incomes that are 300 percent or below the federal poverty level. For Medicaid, it’s 138 percent. So, to enroll in Medicaid an individual cannot earn more than $17,236, but to qualify for coverage under the state family planning program a person can earn up to $37,470. That means many Iowans who left the family planning program wouldn’t qualify for Medicaid coverage.

There is also no evidence to show that previous low-income family planning participants actually transitioned to Medicaid under the state’s expansion, something confirmed by department officials who indicate they have no way to track that information.

Iowans deserve clear and honest information about the failed transition to this new state-funded family planning program. And we need elected officials who will provide scrutiny and ask questions when such information isn’t provided. The health of Iowans depends on it.

Kelli Sharpe

Cedar Rapids

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