Show Me Healthy Women Needs Flexibility More Than Funds
Governor Blunt wants to spend an additional $500,000 on the Show Me Healthy Women Program:
If approved by the General Assembly, the added funding for the Fiscal Year that begins July 1st would expand the program to an additional 1225 women next year. Women who are eligible for this program must meet specific residency, age, and income guidelines.
The current income limits by household size are here. The current limits are already very generous–women can qualify for this program even if their kids aren’t eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
Most of the controversy over Governor Blunt’s proposal focuses on the politics of which clinics should provide the services. We should instead consider whether these services are the best target for public health spending. Mammograms are very inexpensive–usually only about $100–so they cost less than many other medical tests and treatments, such as twice-a-year dental cleaning. And mammograms are not equally important for all women, because genetic and lifestyle factors make some women more at risk for breast cancer than others.
A better way to improve the state’s health care programs would be to issue vouchers that poor families can spend on whatever services they need most. We should make state health care programs more flexible, rather than pay for a few specific services that most people can afford already.