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Trace: at MMR_Render.Press_Release.Page_Load(Object sender, EventArgs e) HHSC Accepts Villarreal's Request to Protect Access to Birth Control - News from Mike - Representative Mike Villarreal - District 123 San Antonio

HHSC Accepts Villarreal's Request to Protect Access to Birth Control

Friday, April 11, 2008

Decision Will Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies and Save Money


Austin – Today the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) informed Representative Mike Villarreal that it will increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for oral contraceptives provided by clinic pharmacies.  The announcement comes after Rep. Villarreal had urged HHSC to raise the rate and had collected more than 1,800 signatures on a petition calling for the increase.


Responding to the news, Rep. Villarreal stated, "We are thrilled with this decision to strengthen Texas families and save taxpayers money.  More pregnancies should we planned, wanted, and welcomed, and HHSC's announcement is a key step in that direction."


By increasing the reimbursement rate from $2.80 to $20.88 on September 1, 2008, HHSC will ensure that clinic pharmacies can continue to fill prescriptions for low-income women rather than referring them to retail pharmacies.  Research shows that interrupting seamless service by requiring an extra trip leads to delays in filling prescriptions and higher rates of unwanted pregnancy. 


There are high social and economic costs of unwanted pregnancy, including child abuse and neglect, children growing up without their fathers, and lower academic and economic success for children and parents alike.   In addition to the costs that these social challenges pose for the state, unintended pregnancies often lead to Medicaid-sponsored births, which cost taxpayers nearly $9,000 each.  The rate increase also directly saves taxpayers money by reducing the number of prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies that receive much higher reimbursements from the state.


Rep. Villarreal also noted that more work remains. "We must continue working to protect access to birth control, but that won't be enough. We also need to encourage young people to make responsible decisions and give them comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. Additionally, w e should ensure they have support, educational opportunities and other 'developmental assets' so they don't believe childbirth is their best path to adulthood and meaning in their lives."