House Health Funding Bill Extends PREP, Includes Wasteful Increase for Title V AOUM Program
The House of Representatives is currently pushing a package of healthcare funding legislation, known as the "SGR," that includes the “doc fix” for Medicaid reimbursement rates, children’s insurance funding, and a host of other health care provisions. SIECUS is very pleased that the recently released bill includes a two-year extension of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) at the current funding level, $75 million per year, through fiscal year (FY) 2017.
While SIECUS and supporters of PREP have encouraged a full five-year reauthorization through FY 2020, the two-year extension provides much-needed stability for state, community, and tribal PREP-funded partners after operating under a one-year extension. We appreciate the efforts made by PREP supporters in the House to continue investments in adolescent sexual health promotion programs that are grounded in evidence, are medically accurate, and include a range of sexual health information including abstinence and contraception, as well as adulthood preparation topics.
Unfortunately, the continuation of PREP in the House bill did not come without trade-offs. In addition to extending the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) program for two-years, the program received a $25 million per year increase, bringing the yearly federal total to $75 million. Given the state-match requirements of the program, this has the potential to surpass more than $130 million per year in public dollars wasted on AOUM programs that have consistently proven to be ineffective.
Furthermore, the policy rider that was included in the final FY 2015 appropriations was also included among the extenders. The provision would require unobligated Title V AOUM funds be made available to states implementing programs that adhere to the full A-H definition of “Abstinence Education.”
SIECUS is incredibly disappointed by this wasteful increase and expansion of AOUM programs that are ineffective, stigmatizing, and fail to provide young people with the sexual health information, education, and skills they need throughout their life to make healthy and responsible decisions.
The House is moving forward quickly with passage of the bipartisan-brokered deal possibly as early as tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, 2015. SIECUS continues to work to prevent the wasteful increase and harmful expansion of AOUM programs.
For more information or questions, please contact Jesseca Boyer, SIECUS Director of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org