Healthy Teen Network takes positions on public policies and public policy proposals of importance to adolescents, young adults, their families, and their communities. We organize our public policy recommendations in the topic areas of
- health promotion,
- adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and
- support for young people who are pregnant or parenting.
Summary of 2017 Public Policy Recommendations
(Download print version below)
Preserve Federal Capacity to Ensure Social Determinants of Health
There is universal agreement that the size of the federal government’s annual deficit and accumulated debt jeopardizes the economic and national security of the nation. Actions that reduce the federal budget deficit and national debt will have profound effects on the health of the nation’s youth and families. Healthy Teen Network supports a robust federal government funded at full capacity to ensure the health and well-being of all Americans. Deficit and debt reduction measures should protect low- and moderate-income people, preserve spending for health and human development programs, and balance spending cuts with progressive sources of revenue.
Expand and Protect Medicaid
Medicaid provides health insurance coverage for more than 58 million low-income children and adults, including girls and women with children. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides incentives to states to extend Medicaid to more currently uninsured people. Healthy Teen Network urges all states to implement the Medicaid expansion provisions of the ACA. Cuts in Medicaid funding and changes to the structure of the Medicaid program are frequently considered in the context of federal deficit reduction. Healthy Teen Network opposes reductions to federal and state spending on Medicaid. Healthy Teen Network opposes the conversion of Medicaid into a block grant program to states or by limiting payments to states on a per capita basis, as either method will limit beneficiary access to essential health services.
Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
Fully Fund Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs
Although rates are decreasing, the United States still has the highest rates of teen pregnancy of any developed nation. The federal government supports efforts to prevent and reduce teen pregnancy by investing in the delivery of medically accurate and developmentally appropriate sexual health education through the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), and HIV School Health activities within the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthy Teen Network supports appropriations of at least $130 million for TPPP. Healthy Teen Network opposes the proposal of the Trump Administration to eliminate the TPPP program. Healthy Teen Network supports appropriations of at least $50 million for CDC DASH. Healthy Teen Network supports the Trump Administration proposal to reauthorize PREP at least at the $75 million annual for at least FY 2018 and FY 2019. Further, Healthy Teen Network supports the establishment of additional grant programs aimed at providing comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents and young adults in schools and institutions of higher education. (Read more: Public Policy Recommendation: Fully Fund Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Public Policy Recommendation: Establish Comprehensive Sexuality Education Grant Programs)
Fully Fund Reproductive Health Services Programs
Reduction of early pregnancy requires that young people have access to medically accurate and developmentally appropriate information along with confidential, comprehensive, and youth-friendly services to help them and their families make informed decisions. The network of health services providers funded through the Title X Family Planning Program and/or the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program makes such access possible. Healthy Teen Network supports an appropriation of at least $327 million for the Title X Family Planning program. Healthy Teen Network supports an appropriation of at least $639 million for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program.
Support for Young People Who Are Pregnant or Parenting
Ensure Pregnant and Parenting Student Access to Education
Pregnancy and parenting responsibilities significantly increase a student’s risk of dropping out of school. Providing educational and related supports for pregnant and parenting students can go a long way toward improving school climate for young parents and increasing their high school graduation rates. Healthy Teen Network supports improvements to federal education law to establish the necessary policy and resources for states and school districts to ensure that pregnant and parenting students have equal access to educational opportunity. (Read more: Public Policy Recommendation: Ensure Pregnant and Parenting Teen Access to Education)