The Title X Factor

Why the health of America's women depends on more funding for family planning.

Author: Andrea Flynn

Published: October 28, 2013

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents an unprecedented expansion of the nation’s health care system and an historic investment in the health of American women and girls. The ACA has already improved the lives of millions and will make health care accessible for millions more as rollout continues this year and next.
 
Fulfilling the promise of the ACA depends on the continued support and success of existing programs – like Title X, the federal family planning program – that serve as pillars of the nation’s still fragile primary health care infrastructure. Title X provides critical medical care and “wrap around” services for family planning clinics nationwide, enabling them to pay for and maintain facilities, train and hire staff, purchase equipment and supplies, and offer a host of services for specific populations.
 
Family planning is central to women’s health and social and economic security. Given the tenuous state of the U.S. economy, the vulnerability of women’s health programs in the face of unrelenting political attacks, and the fragility of the social safety net more broadly, public funding for family planning is more critical than ever. Critics may argue that because the ACA meets the needs of many women, Title X is no longer necessary. In fact, the opposite is true. Continued – indeed, increased – funding of Title X will maximize the impact and reach of the ACA and ensure continued care for those who will remain uninsured despite this landmark legislation.
 
Key Findings:
 
• The ACA demands an unprecedented scaling up in the nation’s health infrastructure, and fulfilling the promise of the law will depend on the continued support and success of Title X.
• The demand for Title X-funded clinics will only increase in coming years as more individuals seek care and those who already rely on safety net providers continue to do so.
• Despite their coverage status,women will continue to rely on Title X-funded clinics because of the clinics’ experience in and commitment to providing care in a safe, confidential setting.
• For many women, particularly young women and low- income women, Title X-funded clinics are a critical entry point into the health system. These clinics will be in even greater demand in the coming months as more women obtain coverage and seek a variety of health services.
• Despite the extraordinary promise of the ACA, many will remain uninsured and for those individuals Title X providers will remain one of the only sources of quality, affordable family planning care.