WASHINGTON, DC –Today, the Congressional Budget Office released their score of the ACA repeal bill. The CBO score highlights several key points regarding the provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood:
1) CBO estimates that the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision would result in reduced access to care for patients who live in areas where Planned Parenthood is the only health care option or where Planned Parenthood serves low-income populations. Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. The report states that, “The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations. CBO projects that about 15 percent of those people would lose access to care.”
2) CBO is totally clear that the provision singles out Planned Parenthood. It states: "CBO expects that, according to those criteria, only Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates and clinics would be affected.” This undermines proponents claim that the provision does not violate the Byrd Rule because it affects a “class of providers,” and not just Planned Parenthood. This confirms that the purpose for including the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision in the ACA repeal bill is not budgetary. Instead, it is to advance the political goal of preventing Planned Parenthood health centers from participating in the federal Medicaid program. It would appear that this provision violates the Byrd Rule, since the Byrd Rule stipulates that if a provision’s budgetary impact is “merely incidental” to the non-budgetary components of the provision, it should not qualify for reconciliation in the United States Senate.
3) CBO estimates that “defunding” Planned Parenthood for one year would result in $156 million less in direct spending from the federal government over 10 years. This is a result of not providing Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood coupled with increased spending for Medicaid services for patients who would have reduced access to care. This is significantly less than the $235 million in savings CBO estimated for the same provision in 2015. Of note, CBO has also previously estimated that permanently defunding Planned Parenthood would actually cost the federal government $130 million over ten years.
The CBO score also estimates that 14 million more people will lose coverage by 2018, reaching 24 million by 2026.
In response, Planned Parenthood released the following statement:
Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“The CBO score of the ACA repeal bill reaffirms what we already know: the provision to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood would have disastrous consequences and result in women losing access to care, especially services that help women prevent unintended pregnancies.
“We’ve made tremendous gains in this country thanks to expanded access to reproductive health care and birth control. We are at a 30 year low in unintended pregnancies, and a historic low in teen pregnancies. Now is not the time to roll that progress back.
“The CBO also states that the ‘defund’ provision singles out Planned Parenthood, which reaffirms that the provision’s primary purpose is political, not budgetary. Thus, it should not be included in the Senate budget reconciliation bill.
“The fact is, one in five women in America has relied on Planned Parenthood, and their health care shouldn't get caught up in congressional Republicans' extreme agenda to undermine access to preventive care.
“The CBO score also highlights the disastrous consequences of repealing the ACA bill: 14 million more Americans would be uninsured next year, reaching 24 million by 2026.
The Facts on "Defunding" Planned Parenthood
FACT: The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid and/or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider that’s been there for them for decades. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services. This legislation instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular. According to an independent poll released in January, 70% of American voters oppose blocking patients from accessing Planned Parenthood - including 50% of Trump voters. A February 2017 Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll showed 77% of Iowans support funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive care, including 62% of Republicans and 62% of evangelical Christians. This goes along with19 national polls that all show overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other quality health care providers. This disproportionately impacts people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, young people, and members of the LGBTQ community – with those whose identities overlap facing multiple barriers.
FACT: Support for Roe v. Wade is at the highest it’s ever been, according to Pew Research, with7 out of 10 Americans saying they believe a woman should have the right to safe, legal abortion.
FACT: Other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patient base if it is cut off from federal programs. Politicians who want to deny patients using Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood often insist that other providers will fill the gap, but the experts at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Partnership for Women and Families said it flat out: They can't. Even the executive director of the American Public Health Association has called such claims “ludicrous.”
FACT: Legislation denying access to care at Planned Parenthood was a health disaster in Texas. Two Texas public health investigators wrote in the Washington Post that when Texas passed legislation it was devastating – and shouldn't be repeated in the rest of the country. A significant number of women also lost or had reduced access to primary care providers as a consequence of limiting patient options.
FACT: When lawmakers in Louisiana,Ohio, and Florida tried to block access to Planned Parenthood in the past, they suggested women could go to “alternative” providers for reproductive health care, including dentists, food banks, nursing homes, ENTs, elementary schools, rehabs, and retirement homes.
FACT: Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for care.
FACT: Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprised 10% of the country’s safety-net centers that offered family planning care in 2010,they served 36% of patients served by such centers. In 21 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood was the only safety-net family planning provider; and in 68 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood served at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
March 13, 2017