Government Title X Grants Come with a Big Price Tag
The founder of a non-profit health care organization for women gives his reasons for saying "no" to federal Title X family planning grants
Healthy Tomorrows is a not-for-profit organization designed to bring women’s health services to the clients of participating pregnancy care agencies. Healthy Tomorrows provides well-woman and well-child services, including prenatal, labor and delivery, post-partum care, for lower income, abortion-vulnerable women without cost to the woman, and to accomplish this without using taxpayer funds.
We could qualify for Title X funding grants from the federal government, but we have no interest in doing so.
With government funding comes government bureaucracy that consumes time and resources to comply with rules and regulations that frequently have nothing to do with quality patient care. The reporting requirements alone mean that some of our staff would have to devote considerable time to completing grant reports, fill out forms, and submit to audits instead of being focused on the needs of patients.
As a faith-based not-for-profit organization, not accepting government funding means retaining the freedom to provide our services without being subject to restrictive rules established by Washington bureaucrats whose personal views can infect how those rules are applied to centers like Healthy Tomorrows. Receiving government funds has the potential to subject an organization to prolonged legal challenges from groups attempting to purge religious organizations from the public square.
Leveraging Success from DPC
Healthy Tomorrows is a new pilot program, so the question of startup funding and sustainability is of pressing importance.
The organization has been quite successful in reaching its start-up funding goals in a relatively short period of time, although it still needs contributions for the next 18 to 24 months. The program model shows Healthy Tomorrows will be supported through the growth of Christian Healthcare Centers, a direct primary care practice that generates significant revenue from people transferring to it from their primary care.
In short, the program will be supported through regular business operations, without the need for government funding, grants, or donor contributions. Christian Healthcare Centers already serves people from all walks of life who have become frustrated with the current overpriced, insurance-based health care system. Many people want a doctor’s office that shares their values and is affordable, convenient, and personalized to provide quality health care. The goal is to be completely self-funded through the revenue generated by our MemberCare program by year three.
Planned Parenthood’s Approach
Despite Planned Parenthood being a billion-dollar operation, it has managed to attach itself to so many sources of federal, state, and local government funding that it has not needed to raise money the old-fashioned way.
It has succeeded by portraying itself as the principal provider of women’s health services, which is patently false. There are far more medical clinics available to low-income women than Planned Parenthood.
Despite this, many in government and the media have accepted the carefully cultivated, ideology-driven narrative that without Planned Parenthood, women all over America would not have access to good health care. Hence, they have been able to expand their reach by using taxpayer dollars to fund their operational expenses while using abortion revenue to fund their political advocacy and lobbying efforts to keep government money flowing into their coffers.
Freedom of Private Funding
The changing political winds of Washington and in state legislatures seem to have forced Title X recipients to participate in politics as part of their survival. Healthy Tomorrows has chosen to avoid government funding because of this.
For other clinics, it depends on what their goals are and how much they value their freedom to deliver high-quality care to patients as they desire. Some clinics seem to have experienced little difficulty accepting Title X funding, and there are some where the continuously changing political landscape presents time-consuming compliance challenges where eligibility for funding can be jeopardized.
Clearly, Planned Parenthood’s participation in Title X has been a source of controversy for a long time, principally because of that organization’s commitment to remain the largest abortion provider in the United States. Despite the financial shell game of pretending Title X money doesn’t get mixed in with Planned Parenthood abortion services, it clearly does. Evidently, it has decided the current administration’s efforts to force it to separate abortion services completely from other medical services proved too much for it. It’s possible Planned Parenthood will just wait for a change of administration and will then be back seeking Title X money.
Waiting It Out
It is unlikely Planned Parenthood will actually lose any money. It has so successfully embedded itself with wealthy celebrities, large foundations, and culture-shaping institutions that it won’t feel the loss. In fact, it is already using this decision to fuel its fundraising, and it will mostly likely succeed. Withdrawing from Title X is simply a PR stunt for Planned Parenthood.
Although the withdrawal is a welcome change, it’s probably only temporary. Just observe who Planned Parenthood supports in the next election and why.
Mark Blocher (firstname.lastname@example.org) is CEO and president of Christian Healthcare Centers.