Title X Funding and How It Affects STD Testing Services
While STDAware takes a neutral stance in politics, we also want to educate our patients and the public on what the Title X funding changes mean and how they might affect sexual health care services.
This segment is designed to provide unbiased facts on what Title X funding is, what the current allowances are, what the planned changes are, and what they mean for STD testing and treatment services.
STDAware aims to deliver the best testing services in the industry. We are the only STD testing service provider that included medical consultation and prescriptive services*. Additionally, STDAware is committed to providing expert information and education resources and has a team of medical and advice staff available to support its patient clientele.
When it comes to patient service and industry standards we stand behind YOU. But when it comes to politics, call us Swiss!
History of Title X and Family Planning Services
To understand the proposed changes under the current administration, it is important to first define what Title X funds are, what the Hyde Amendment is, and what are the other contributing factors surrounding the current and proposed changes.
Title X Family Planning funding was founded in 1970 under the Nixon administration. The funds for Title X are appropriated from within the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) bill. These funds are then given to the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) who then hands it over to the Office of Population Affairs (OPA). OPA is responsible for distributing the Title X funds to 79 grantee organizations, nationwide (NFPRHA, 2018). Title X funding is designed to support clinics so that they can ensure low income, under- or non-insured, access to “family planning and preventative health services,” (DHHS, 2018).
Since 2011 Title X, among other federal assistance programs, has been under review and have had its funding cut dramatically in response to the pressure to reduce the federal deficit.
Timeline of Recent Title X changes
- In October 2010 (Fiscal Year 2011) the funding for Title X was $317.5 million
- In 2011 the House proposed eliminating Title X funding, for the sixth time in eight years, and the Senate overturned it
- In March 2013 the funding for Title X was cut to $301.9 million
- On February 12, 2018, President Trump proposed the level funding of Title X at $286.5 million
- On June 14, 2018, for the seventh time in nine years, the House Appropriations committee proposed the elimination of Title X funding altogether
- On June 28, 2018, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved President Trump’s budget which included the level funding amount of $286.5 million for Title X
The argument that abortion should be considered part of “family planning,” is heated and contentious on both sides. Advocates for abortion services argue that by not performing low-income, federally funded abortions the birth rate will increase and therefore increase government spending on additional lives in the welfare/government assistance programs (Newsweek, 2017).
The Hyde Amendment was enacted in 1976 and blocked federal funding (including Medicaid) from paying for abortion services (including counseling and referrals) except in cases where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother or is a result of rape or incest (Library of Congress, 2014).
On January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy (also referred to as the “Global Gag Rule”), which requires any non-government organization that receives federal funding to certify that they do not provide abortion services or “actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” This policy was first enacted in 1984 under the Reagan administration and has been in effect off and on for 18 of the past 33 years (KFF, 2018).
Additionally, in May of 2018, President Trump proposed denying Title X grant money to any organization that performs abortion services. According to the White House, the proposed bill would not create additional cuts to Title X funding but ensures that taxpayer dollars “do not inadvertently pay for abortion services,” in accordance with the law (Washington Times, 2018).
This comes as a devastating blow to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and international AIDS relief programs such as PEPFAR and the UNPF. These organizations offer many non-abortion, family planning services, such as birth control contraceptives (prescriptive and barrier), pap smears (cancer screening), pregnancy testing, prenatal and postnatal care and counseling, as well as STD testing. But because they do offer abortion services, abortion counseling, and referrals, funding will be denied unless they either cease offering abortion services or are able to separate non-abortion service costs and only use private funds for abortion-related services (CNN, 2018).
Pro-choice advocates voice that these changes will deny access to safe and legal abortions for low-income women, alongside additional concerns that funding cuts will eliminate other non-abortion services, such as, birth control, which would increase unwanted pregnancies and the number of abortions. While those in favor of the funding restrictions posit that the funding will be redirected to supporting women and family issues as well as increasing the focus on prevention and overall women’s health.
Planned Parenthood and three other organizations have opted to turn down the government grants rather than accept the restrictions (CNN, 2018)
What It Means For Sexual Health Services
At the close of 2017, 32 Planned Parenthood locations close their doors bringing their total number of active clinic sites to 597 down from their peak presence of 938 clinics in 1995. The reasons for these closures are speculated to be for a variety of reasons, which Planned Parenthood declined to provide comment on. Some say these closures are partly due to the 2010 Patient and Affordable Care Act, which affected out of pocket contributions (Washington Times, 2017).
At this point (July 2018) is unclear if Planned Parenthood will close all of their doors or if they will remain operational using private funds and Medicaid reimbursements, but in either case, it is clear that the limited nature of their funding will either eliminate or substantially limit their offerings and increase their costs.
In terms of STD testing services, there will always be social projects and government-funded clinics that offer STD Testing services at reduced or no cost. However, the benefits of private STD testing services, such as provided by STDAware, are not touched by Title X policy and allow for greater accessibility, convenience, ease, as well as overall quality patient experience.
STDAware testing is provided at similar rates as are billed out by any socially funded clinic and are competitive with other private vendors. STDAware patients who have insurance can use their HSA (Health Spending Account) to pay for STD Testing at STDAware. Additionally, STDAware is THE ONLY online STD testing service provider that provides in-house medical consultation and prescription/treatment services*.
STDAware cares and is committed to providing excellence both in its products and services but also in the quality of care and attention given to any person who makes contact with us. And while we value any individual’s decision to seek “free clinic” STD testing, we also know that “free” and “pain-free” are not mutually exclusive.
Below is a list of Pros & Cons of a Free Clinic and a private service such as STDAware.
STDAware Is Here For You
Political leadership will come and go and the economic and political climate around “family planning” will forever be in flux, but the risk of STDs will always stay the same.
To learn more about the STD risks factors in the no-cost resource center provided by STDAware, click here.
Medical and family planning experts agree that ANY sexually active individual should be routinely tested for STDs as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Preventative STD screening is one of the strongest defenses in the spread of STDs and should be conducted anytime there is a change in sexual partners, sexual habits, or needle sharing habits.
Free STD Clinic
Free STD Clinic
STDAware offers full panel and individual testing options and is the ONLY online STD testing provider that offers in-house medical consultation services, free of charge, to its patients. To learn more about the no-cost benefits provided by STDAware, click here.
THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE AN STD IS TO GET TESTED
STDAware makes getting tested quick, fast, and convenient. To learn mor eabout how to get tested with STDAware, click here. Advice counselors are available to speak with you to answer any of your STD testing questions.
STOP WORRYING. GET TESTED.
*STDAware currently offers no-cost medical counseling for all STD conditions with the exception of HSV-1. Treatment is provided at no additional fee to STDAware patient clientele who test positive for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HSV-2.