This past month we celebrated National Health Center Week, from August 9th to 15th. For over 30 years, National Health Center Week has been celebrated in order to acknowledge the service and contributions of community health centers in their communities. For us, it was a time to reflect on our role as women’s health providers in the larger political and social landscape.
Comprehensive women’s health care coverage has been in the news a lot lately: from attacks on Planned Parenthood to expanding maternity coverage for workers at large tech companies. What hasn’t received the attention it deserves is the proposed elimination of Title X funding. Title X provides funding for family planning clinics throughout the country, including our clinic, and there are bills in both the Senate and the House that aim to drastically cut or eliminate altogether this federal funding program.
It’s been found that for every $1 spent on Title X services, tax payers save $7.09 in the cost of averted unintended pregnancies. And yet, the Senate Bill proposes to cut “funding for Title X clinics by 10 percent or $29 million, to $258 million. This cut would deny comprehensive family planning and preventive health services to 430,000 people and would increase the estimated number of unintended pregnancies by over 82,000 next year.”
In California, the Title X distributor of funds is our friend California Family Health Council. They took the occasion of National Health Center Week to draw attention to how health centers are often recipients of Title X funding, and while we celebrate the successes of these clinics, we must urge the federal government to keep them fully funded. CFHC’s provider network includes 64 health care organizations serving more than one million women, men and teens in 38 of California’s 58 counties.
California Family Health Center helped promote our programs on Twitter:
— CalFam HealthCouncil (@CalFamHealth) August 12, 2015
On August 7th, President Barack Obama made a Presidential Proclamation marking this week as National Health Center Week.
“An idea born from the fight for justice and civil rights, health centers — as well as the committed professionals who support them — carry forward the ideals fought for at a transformational time in our Nation’s history.”
By cutting Title X funding, we would be sharply reducing the ability of these critical community health providers to offer the accessible, affordable, and client-centered care that all families need, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.