If the Obama administration has its way, not only will taxpayers be forced to purchase health care, they also will be required to indirectly subsidize various health-care services globally.
The plan ultimately could extract another $56 billion from the U.S. Treasury over the next eight years.
A large chunk of the international health-care endeavor would be condom distribution, a measure aimed, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development, at the prevention of HIV/AIDS and reduction of unplanned pregnancies.
USAID this week began circulating a presolicitation notice informing the public and “in particular, members of the business community” of its plans. It is not yet soliciting bids from contractors, however, to carry out such tasks.
President Obama last year unveiled his intention to execute what he calls the Global Health Initiative, or GHI. The latest notice – which USAID uploaded Aug. 21 to the FedBizOpps database – sheds additional light on what is turning out be an increasingly enormous undertaking.
The document points out that this particular part of the Obama plan – despite its $7 billion estimated annual cost for five years plus a three-year option period – is simply one facet of GHI. Indeed, the Global Health Supply Chain initiative, as it is known, solely involves procuring “health commodities and services” while seeking to ensure uninterrupted supply chains.
The commodities include condoms and other forms of contraception, malaria treatments, insecticide-treated nets and HIV-treatment medicines.
USAID between 2006 and 2010 delivered contraceptives and condoms valued at $376.4 million, the agency said.
During that same period it also bought 95.3 million anti-malarial treatments known as artemisinin-based combination therapy, 45.4 million insecticide-treated nets and 10.2 million preventative treatments for malaria in pregnancy. The document did not specify the volume of HIV-related medicines delivered.
“This has contributed to the reductions in mortality among children under five in most of [President' Malaria Initiative] focus countries,” it continued. “Ensuring an adequate supply of malaria related commodities will continue to be a key component of PMI’s continued efforts to further reduce the burden of malaria.
“These efforts have contributed to substantial increases in the percentage of women using modern contraceptives in USAID priority countries,” the agency said in the document, “and have translated to improved maternal and child health, family well-being, women’s empowerment, poverty reduction and elevated development prospects.”
USAID, likewise, provided supply chain assistance in 33 nations during that time, partly enabled through a $7 billion indefinite quantity contract awarded in 2005 to the Boston-based Partnership for Supply Chain Management. This latest contracting action, however, will place greater focus on finding supply chain management providers originating from “the global south,” the document said.
The agency claimed 215 million women around the world “who would like to delay or avoid pregnancy still do not have access to family planning information and services.”
The administration’s goal, therefore, is to help prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies and increase the use of modern contraceptives in assisted countries by an average of 2 percent.
“The agency is placing special attention on increasing access to family planning services” for the poorest segments of those populations, “where access remains lowest.”
USAID separately will spend up to $800 million over five years on a program designed to ensure that recipient nations more efficiently manage U.S. foreign assistance funds and initiatives.
“In order to achieve sustainability in its programs, USAID must increasingly focus its development assistance efforts on strengthening the abilities of its host country partner organizations and the systems in which they work,” the agency reasoned.
Known as Human and Institutional Capacity Development, or HICDpro, the agency is slated to use up to $500 million “to identify root causes of performance gaps” in Critical Priority County partner institutions.
The agency pointed out that the awarding of contracts under HICDpro “will be subject to funds availability following the proper completion of required USAID internal processes and other internal USAID approvals.”