If you think it was hard to push out the $787 billion stimulus package, try birthing a child without health care or living with HPV. Though the package bodes well for environmentalists
, in order to lure Republicans—none of whom
have signed on yet—Obama stripped it of a handful of important provisions on women, STD prevention, and children's services. Specifically, Obama cut
$25 million to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces and $150 million to the Violence Against Women Act at the suggestion of Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Nelson (D-NE). Also stripped from the stimulus package was a section that would allow states to cover family planning services—without first obtaining a government waiver, as is the current practice—for low-income women who are ineligible for Medicaid. A Congressional Budget Office report
estimates that this bill would have saved the country $200 million over five years and $700 million over the next ten.
STDs were apparently another sore spot for Republicans, so Obama ended up taking out $335 million for STD prevention. According to the CDC
, STDs cost the health care system $15.3 billion per year, and we're expected to spend $12.3 billion
on HIV/AIDS-related care in 2009. You do the math.Update:
Three Republican Senators—Olympia J. Snowe
and Susan Collins
of Maine, and Arlen Specter
of Pennsylvania—supported the bill.