2011-02-23 / Features

Crowley Slams GOP For Slashing Health Care For Poor Families

BY JOHN TOSCANO

Congressmember Joseph Crowley (DQueens/ The Bronx) lashed out at House Republicans last week for eliminating funding from a health services program affecting five million low income Americans.

“The Republicans’ resolution is an attack on low income patients and the health care they rely on,” Crowley said during debate on the bill.

“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle may try to say this is just about spending, but the result is an attack on health services.”

The debate was on a GOP attempt to eliminate funding from Title X of the Public Health Service Act which helps clinics throughout the country to provide high quality and affordable preventive health services.

These include cancer screenings, immunizations, contraception, prenatal care and a range of women’s health services, said Crowley, a staunch supporter of the program who each year leads the campaign to increase funding for it.

Referring to the 4,500 clinics in the program and the screenings they provide for breast and cervical cancer, Crowley asked, “How many cases of breast cancer will go undetected as a result of this cut?”

And citing the clinics’ testing for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, he asked, “How many sexually transmitted diseases will go undiagnosed and untreated?”

Crowley also expressed concerns about “how many babies will be born with health problems, such as low birth rates, because mothers were unable to get the prenatal care they need.”

Crowley said the questions “were not just hypothetical” because studies have shown the benefits of the Title X program.

“For example,” he pointed out, “without Title X, unintended teen pregnancies would increase by 60 percent each year, an additional 300,000 teenage girls getting pregnant because they had no more access to low cost contraceptives.”

Crowley stubbornly pressed the point, “This isn’t just about spending, if it were, my colleagues would recognize that the Title X program saves nearly four dollars in Medicaid costs for every dollar spent.

“They would also recognize that in just one year, the services provided by Title X clinics saved state and federal governments $3.4 billion. And yet we’re cutting the $317 million this program gets – that’s right, millions, when the benefit is in the billions.”

He concluded: “What we should be doing is strengthening this program and others like it, not gutting it. We will all be paying for the results of this cut down the road.”

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