15 Nov: Weinberg Legislation To Expand Access To Family Planning Services Approved By Senate Budget Panel

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg to expand the availability of family planning services to more low-income women and families and provide the state access to critical federal family planning funds available under the recently-enacted national health care reform law was today approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

The measure (S-2393) would require the State to apply to the federal government for an expansion of Medicaid coverage to allow women earning between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level – or between $29,547 and $44,100 a year in income, for a family of four – to receive family planning services under the Medicaid program. By exercising this option offered by the federal government – which would increase eligibility from the current 133 percent ceiling – New Jersey would receive $9 in federal reimbursement for every additional $1 the state spends for family planning services through the state’s Medicaid program.

“In this economic climate, we should be doing everything we can as a state to take full advantage of federal funding opportunities, especially those that will help our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “By expanding Medicaid coverage, we will ensure that more women are provided access to health screenings, breast exams, birth control, and other critical services they rely on to maintain their health. This is the right thing to do, both from a public health and a moral perspective.”