By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
On a weekend talk show, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered a lame excuse for including hundreds of millions of dollars for contraception coverage in the President’s economic “stimulus” package, saying these services “reduce costs.”
Pelosi appeared on ABC’s Sunday morning talk show, This Week. Host George Stephanopoulos asked her why hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services is included in the President’s $825 billion economic stimulus plan. “How is that stimulus?” he asked.
“Well, the family planning services reduce cost,” Pelosi said. “They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”
When asked if she would offer any apologies for including this money in the stimulus plan, she replied, “No apologies. No. We have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.”
The contraception coverage was made known to the public by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).
“I’m concerned about the size of the package, and I’m concerned about some of the spending that’s in there,” Boehner complained to the press on Friday after a meeting at the White House.
“How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?”
At issue is a proposal included in the stimulus package that would expand Medicaid family planning services to all 50 states. The proposal would enable people who don’t qualify for Medicaid to receive the family planning services, including contraceptives.
A spokesman for Boehner told Reuters: “Whether or not you think that is good public policy, it has nothing to do with an economic stimulus.”
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