WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Committee on the Budget advanced dangerous legislation that could leave millions of Americans without access to health care. This legislation would specifically block people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers -- including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) offered an amendment that would strike this harmful provision from the bill. Unfortunately, despite bipartisan support, the motion failed by a vote of 14-21.
The bill which narrowly passed the House Budget Committee, 19-17 and will next be heard in the House Rules Committee.
It comes just days after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that 24 million people would lose health insurance within 10 years under the bill, and confirmed that defunding Planned Parenthood would mean 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 language to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood is the only provision in the bill that is not related to the Affordable Care Act. CBO’s findings confirmed that it is designed to politically target the women’s health provider, which serves 2.5 million patients a year. And it is deeply unpopular with the American public. A poll released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that 75% of Americans, including majorities of both Republican women and Republican men, support federal Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.
Statement from Dana E. Singiser, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“As the Congressional Budget Office just reaffirmed, the provision to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood would be a disaster. Prohibiting patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood simply doesn’t work -- patients are left with nowhere else to go for health care, and women are forced to go without birth control and cancer screenings. Coupled with drastic cuts to the Medicaid program, restrictions on abortion coverage, and the loss of coverage for 24 million Americans, the bill passed by the House Budget Committee today is a disaster for women.
“The fact is, one in five women in America has relied on Planned Parenthood, and their health care shouldn't get caught up in Republican leadership’s' extreme agenda. There’s a reason so many Members of Congress have faced angry town halls back at home -- the American people do not want to see their health care taken away.”
Health care groups across the country are standing up against repeal legislation: the American Medical Association came out against this legislation, saying they ‘cannot support provisions that prevent Americans from choosing to receive care from physicians and other qualified providers, in this specific case, those associated with Planned Parenthood affiliates, for otherwise covered services.’
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 with 19 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, with 7 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 16, 2017