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Extended coverage for women pushed

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ATLANTA --- Since the mid-1990s, more than half the states have saved their taxpayers millions of dollars on coverage to the poor by tapping into a federal family-planning program -- but not Georgia.

On the eve of next month's legislative session when drastic budget cutting will start, several advocacy groups are wondering why Georgia has missed potential savings.

By extending limited Medicaid coverage to poor women, the state can get the federal government to pay for 90 percent.

Essentially, it means giving the women birth-control pills in an effort to avoid the roughly half of Georgia pregnancies that are unplanned.

Taxpayers would save in two ways: These women would be covered if they were pregnant, and their babies would be covered the moment they're born. Plus, any pregnancy complications would also be covered.

A typical pregnancy can cost about $8,000, and complications can run to $75,000, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Reducing pregnancies in South Carolina saved that state $23 million between 1996-1997 and $19 million in Alabama between 2000-2001, according to the academy.

The program would also benefit women and their babies, according to Dr. Willis Lanier, a past president of the Georgia OBGYN Society.

"It would help their overall health and reduce premature morbidity," he said.

The state's chapter of the Christian Coalition would rather see the focus on talking them out of having sex.

"I would be opposed to any program that encourages or rewards promiscuity," said chapter president Jim Luquire. "Any time you go beyond standing for abstinence, then you lose the opportunity for that person to remain pure and upright."

The budget for the current year includes an appropriation of $225,000 for the state's share with the expectation of bringing in $2 million from Washington. Lobbyists for the Access Healthcare Coalition said they would be pushing to get Georgia in the program because they hope the multi-million-dollar savings will stay in the health care system as higher payments to doctors and hospitals that treat Medicaid patients.

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gaspringwater
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gaspringwater 12/01/09 - 07:11 am
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Republican ideologues in

Republican ideologues in Georgia have deprived many poor women and their babies of medical care. Preaching abstinence and punishing the poor offenders. The Republicans in South Carolina and Alabama were smarter than that!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 12/01/09 - 07:20 am
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If the only thing you can do

If the only thing you can do is blame a Republican, you may be a dim Democrat!

seenitB4
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seenitB4 12/01/09 - 08:47 am
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A couple of things would

A couple of things would help,,,Teach safe sex & money management in schools...Some kids don't get any of this from their homelife..

whyme
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whyme 12/01/09 - 01:10 pm
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"Extended health care for

"Extended health care for women pushed". What about those pulled? Who's pushing them and why?

disssman
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disssman 12/01/09 - 08:36 pm
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What in the HE11 is a DA##

What in the HE11 is a DA## church group doing dictating health care in the state? No wonder we are so backwards. Pull their tax exempt status if they want to be politicians.

corgimom
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corgimom 12/02/09 - 02:27 pm
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whyme, "Who is being pulled?"

whyme, "Who is being pulled?" How about all of the taxpayers that are having to support all of these children?

whyme
1459
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whyme 12/03/09 - 12:17 am
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It's a JOKE, corgimom...the

It's a JOKE, corgimom...the way that the headline was worded it could be jokingly misread (they meant that the health care was pushed, not the women literally!). Loses something when you have to explain it...

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