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Richard Nixon Knew Family Planning Saves Taxpayer Dollars, But Today’s GOP Doesn’t Care

Memo Pad Politics

Richard Nixon Knew Family Planning Saves Taxpayer Dollars, But Today’s GOP Doesn’t Care


As the Affordable Care Act helps more Americans get health insurance, it’s time to increase funding for Title X, because the need for family planning services is only going up.

For more than 40 years, Title X has provided family planning and reproductive health services to millions of American women. More recently, conservative lawmakers have targeted Title X as part of their obsession with shrinking the social safety net and restricting access to women’s health care. Those same opponents are now likely to argue that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) focus on women’s health renders Title X unnecessary.  But as I argue in my new paper published by the Roosevelt Institute, that is simply not the case. In reality, the success of the ACA and the health of women across the country are dependent on even greater support for existing family planning programs.

Title X is the nation’s only program solely dedicated to family planning. It was passed into law in 1970 with overwhelming bipartisan support and can in fact be credited to two Republican presidents: Richard Nixon, who signed the bill into law, and then-congressman George H.W. Bush, who led the legislative effort. It provides critical medical care to low-income, immigrant, and young women and enables clinics to pay for and maintain facilities, train and hire staff, and purchase equipment and supplies.

Despite being perennially underfunded, the program delivers incredible health results. Last year it served 4.76 million women, preventing an estimated 996,000 unintended pregnancies, 200,000 of which were among teens. Research has shown that services provided at Title X clinics save federal and state governments more than $3 billion every year.

As millions of Americans gain health coverage for the first time thanks to the ACA, clinics funded by Title X will become an even more critical building block of our nation’s health system. Even when individuals obtain coverage, many will continue to choose publicly funded clinics as their main source of care. In the four years following the implementation of Massachusetts’ health care reform, which served as the model for the ACA, publicly funded health centers experienced a 31 percent increase in patients, even though the number of uninsured visiting those facilities fell by more than 15 percent.

Even women who are already fully insured will continue to rely on Title X clinics for family planning because they can do so in complete confidence. Issues like intimate partner violence and religious beliefs of employers, family, and partners, cause many women to circumvent their insurance plans when accessing family planning services and instead rely on public providers.

The fact is, despite the GOP’s relentless strategic misinformation campaigns and the technology problems that bedeviled the rollout this month, the ACA is good for women. It mandates that insurance plans fully cover all methods of contraception, prohibits gender discrimination and denial of care based on pre-existing conditions, and enables young people to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26. It requires plans to cover pap tests, STD screening, preconception and prenatal care visits, postpartum counseling and breastfeeding support, and one well visit a year. Make no mistake: this is groundbreaking.

Despite these historic advancements, many women will remain uninsured in the years to come. There are lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is the refusal of many states to accept federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid.

The ACA was intended to be a path to health care for all Americans, and a major pillar of the law was the expansion of Medicaid to all individuals who fall below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,415 for an individual or $26,344 for a family of three), with subsidies for individuals above that level to buy insurance in the marketplaces. But last year the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not constitutionally require states to expand Medicaid, and conservative lawmakers pounced on the opportunity to block a major component of the ACA.


  1. TZToronto October 29, 2013

    The Tea Party faithful appear to be linear thinkers. They don’t understand that spending money can actually save money. Of course, they do have a severe prejudice against any sort of family planning, believing that family planning is against the will of God (i.e., whatever happens happens, and God wants it that way). But for people who are so intent on reducing costs, you’d think that they’d consider the benefits, fiscally, of family planning. You’d be wrong.

    On another point, Nixon was a moderate. Compared to the Tea Party, he was almost a raging liberal. Despite his many flaws, he wasn’t even close to being as dogmatic as Tea Partiers. I was around when Nixon was President, and Ted Cruz–you’re no Richard Nixon.

    1. John Kruger October 29, 2013

      They have no problem spending money, military spending or corporate welfare is just fine. It is only when money is spent on poor people that do not “deserve it” that they get all Ayn Rand crazy.

      1. dana becker October 30, 2013


      2. Canistercook January 14, 2014

        I support highly distribution of birth control to ‘poor’ women and well baby clinics etc., I just don’t support taxing people to supply supplies to rich people and forcing people to act against their beliefs real or imaginary!

    2. Angela Monger October 30, 2013

      It seems to me that they don’t want ordinary citizens to save money. They want us to spend all of our money. However they don’t want any money spent on us. They want us to pay taxes to be spent on things that don’t benefit us. And they want us spend the rest of our money as well. They know that people who have large families won’t have any money. That’s what they like.

      1. Allan Richardson October 30, 2013

        Part of that strategy is to starve progressive candidates (and even incumbents) of campaign funds, since the voters who WANT to give to them cannot AFFORD to give. Meanwhile, conservatives who appeal to the VERY wealthy, and to corporate leaders, will be able to spend UNLIMITED amounts of money to get elected or re-elected.

        They are planning on what I call a Biblical economy. That means that the top one percent OF the top one percent will be living in palaces like Herod, Pilate, and Caiphas, while the rest of us will be forced to beg outside the pilate gates, like the pauper in Jesus’ parable.

      2. dana becker October 30, 2013

        You have summed it up concisely and with a little bow.

      3. Canistercook January 14, 2014

        Wonder who are the ‘they’! We have become a nation of the ‘them and us’ I guess!

  2. JDavidS October 30, 2013

    I remember loathing “Tricky Dick” when he was in office. Now I look back fondly on those days. Nixon was a brilliant statesman, a genius and totally bi-partisan when compared to idiots like Lyin’ Ryan, Cruz, Paul et al. God, to think that’s how far the GOP has sunk.

    1. latebloomingrandma October 30, 2013

      He could have gone down as a great President if he wouldn’t have been so ally paranoid and devious, seeing enemies everywhere, and if he wouldn’t have been such a liar. He was his own worst enemy.

    2. mandinka October 30, 2013

      Don’t you read the newpapaers? Nixon was as big a crook as Ronald Reagan was. Now Jimmy Carter was a man of humility!

      1. JDavidS October 31, 2013

        Don’t you read the posts? Try again.

      2. Elliot J. Stamler November 1, 2013

        With much to be humble about. (Yeah yeah I know-I plagiarized the line from Churchill.)

    3. Elliot J. Stamler November 1, 2013

      Sorry-I also remember Nixon and I do NOT look fondly on those days-he tore the country apart, committed felonies knowingly, was as Sen. Barry Goldwater, his one-time strong friend said, “a liar who sat there and lied to my face.” Nixon however was brilliant and could be reasoned with and although he considered himself a staunch conservative it is a measure of how far toward real fascism the GOP has lurched that on policy matters Nixon would today be considered a moderate.

  3. disqus_ivSI3ByGmh October 30, 2013

    Today, Richard Nixon would be considered a Liberal Democrat by today’s Tea Baggers.

  4. mandinka October 30, 2013

    Title 10 is not about family planning but about murder under the veil of government approval

  5. Lovefacts October 30, 2013

    Republicans not only don’t know US history, they don’t know or remember their own party’s history. Planned Parenthood was created to counter the increasing number of illegal abortions and subsequent deaths in 1916. Who helped found and fund it? Wealthy Republicans and most of the major protestant religions. Why? Because they knew the best way to prevent dangerous abortions was to help women manage the size of their families via birth control.

    It never ceases to amaze, shock, and sadden me how the Republican party which prided itself on intelligence that had liberals, conservatives, and moderates has lost its way and is now controlled by those who are power-hungry and educational illiterates–they have no knowledge of science and history be it US or the world. In truth, they hold being intelligent beneath contempt. Because of this, they no longer problem-solve or govern but try to ignore problems or through force or laws control the public’s choices insuring the publics actions/choices conform to their religious or political ideology. This makes them nothing more than dictators.

  6. wesley rasmussen October 31, 2013

    How many of the “unintended pregnancies” back in the late 70s to early 90s resulted in today’s Tea Party Republicans? I would bet most of them…

  7. Canistercook January 14, 2014

    Guess the National needs to get back to the ‘War on Women’ to protect their Messiah. His polls are not good. .


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