Planned Parenthood Demands That No New Abortion Restrictions
Be Attached to Market Stabilization Measures
WASHINGTON D.C. - Planned Parenthood, along with 90 other advocacy and health care groups, submitted a letter to both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees demanding that the FY 2018 appropriations bill exclude harmful and ideological anti-women’s health policy riders, including riders blocking patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
POLITICO reports that “House Republicans are demanding a series of controversial abortion and health care policies in the annual health spending bill…The riders would cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, eliminate a federal family planning program, and ax the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, according to sources on Capitol Hill.”
The coalition letter states, “Opponents of women’s health in the administration and in Congress have long used the budget and appropriations process to undermine women’s access to comprehensive reproductive care, including access to safe and legal abortion…As you and your colleagues make critical decisions about FY 2018 funding bills, we urge you to protect women’s health by ensuring that these and any other ideological policy riders are excluded and that funding is protected for programs that improve health outcomes for women, men, and young people, including LGBTQ people.”
In addition, POLITICO reports that the Trump-Pence administration is pushing for abortion restrictions in market stabilization measures. Congressional Republicans are considering the Costello bill as legislation to address market stabilization efforts, including cost-sharing reduction (CSR) funding and funds that could be used for reinsurance.
It is important to note that the Costello bill goes far beyond current law and imposes new abortion restrictions that would essentially result in a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.
These new restrictions are bad policy and have no place in any legislation, let alone efforts to lower health care costs and stabilize the marketplace.
In particular, the Costello bill includes disastrous new abortion restrictions on CSR payments and state funds that can be used for reinsurance that would result in a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion in the marketplace. The Costello bill would block CSR payments to insurance companies if their private health insurance plans cover abortion services. This would coerce insurance plans to drop private insurance coverage of abortion in order to ensure that they continue to receive the CSR payments that help lower costs of ACA marketplace plans for people with low incomes.
It is important to remember that the ACA already has restrictions that prohibit insurance companies from using CSRs to pay for abortion coverage. The Nelson Amendment requires plans sold on the marketplaces that cover abortion to segregate a consumer’s payment to ensure that federal funds, namely tax credits and CSRs, are not used to pay for abortions except in the cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest.
Even Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander has said that “existing prohibitions on federal funding of abortion” are sufficient.
The Costello bill also includes onerous abortion restrictions on the Patient and State Stability Fund, which could affect the individual and employer-sponsored health insurance markets. Because the fund could be used in multiple ways, including funding for reinsurance programs, direct payments to health insurers or health care providers, and subsidies to help people pay premiums and cost sharing, the impact on abortion coverage could be far-reaching. Imposing onerous restrictions on such a fund, or a traditional reinsurance program, would lead to many plans dropping abortion coverage altogether.
Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
Republican congressional leaders are up to their old tricks and trying to sneak in attacks on women’s health through the budget process and other legislation to stabilize health care costs.
“People are sick and tired of GOP congressional leaders’ fundamental disdain for the reality of women’s health and lives. Now is the time for Congress to put the nation and people’s health over partisan politics.
“These harmful riders, including ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood, as well as potential new abortion restrictions in market stabilization measures, are bad policy and have no place in any legislation, let alone bipartisan legislation that members are working on in good faith.
“On behalf of our 2.4 million patients and 11 million supporters who live and vote in all 50 states, and 90 other groups, Planned Parenthood Action Fund calls on Congress to do its job, pass a clean budget free of harmful policy riders, and reject new abortion restrictions.
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 more than 600 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.