Idaho media have been running a story this week about women’s access to family planning services under Medicaid. In their stories, they claim that the Legislature imposed new barriers on low-income women seeking birth control and other services.
Here is lead paragraph from an AP story Betsy Russell has re-posted on her blog: “Idaho officials have submitted a Medicaid expansion waiver requiring patients to get referrals from primary physicians before they can get family planning services such as birth control, abortions or pregnancy care.”
That sentence is patently false.
The referral language the Legislature adopted has to do with obtaining family planning services from someone other than your primary care physician. As in Planned Parenthood. The rules adopted by the Legislature for Medicaid encourage the woman to obtain family planning services from their primary care physician. In no way is the Legislature denying access to such services.
The Legislature did this because certain birth control methods carry significant health risks. And it is best for the woman if she is under the care of a primary care physician, so that any health problems can be monitored. Even Planned Parenthood officials have publicly admitted as much, even as they bemoan the potential loss of tax dollars subsidizing their operation.
One could surmise that local media are attempting to manipulate women into supporting Planned Parenthood by giving them false information.
Obviously false media reports are not just a national problem; we have our very own local version.