Highlights Planned Parenthood's Role as Safety-Net Health Care Provider
To Millions of Women
WASHINGTON, DC – Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the White House Health Care Summit today that increasing access to affordable preventive care is critical as our elected officials address health care reform. Richards joined leading health care providers, members of Congress, advocacy groups, and members of the Obama administration in a discussion of ideas to improve our ailing health care system.
“As a trusted reproductive health care provider to three million women and men, we are honored to participate in this health care forum and applaud President Obama’s leadership in tackling health care reform,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of American. “As a safety-net health care provider with nearly 880 health centers across the country, we know the importance and value of preventive care. Ninety-seven percent of the services we provide every day focus on prevention to ensure women and their families lead healthy and productive lives. We look forward to being meaningful partners in providing commonsense solutions that enable Americans to receive a full range of needed health care services.”
Planned Parenthood is a safety-net health care provider and entry point into the health care system for millions of men and women. The Guttmacher Institute reports that six in 10 clients consider a family planning center, like Planned Parenthood, their main source of health care. Often times, it is also their first interaction with the country’s health care system.
The vast majority of Planned Parenthood patients are low-income. As the economic downturn has worsened, Planned Parenthood health centers across the country are seeing an increase in the number of patients coming in for affordable quality care.
A recent story in US News and World Report highlights the impact that the economic downturn has had on women’s health. The article reports that many people who have lost their health insurance have been “swarming into Planned Parenthood clinics to get free or subsidized contraception.”
-Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa “now adds about five or six women each day to its patient roster where it used to add about that many a week."
-Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (Northern California) saw a 21 percent jump (from the previous December) in the number of patients they saw in December 2008, due to job loss and loss of health insurance.
-Planned Parenthood clinics are also seeing women buying fewer cycles of pills, deferring annual exams, and buying longer-acting contraceptive methods.
“We see firsthand the need for quality, affordable health care for women and families. With the downturn in the economy, our preventive services are more important than ever to make sure that low-income women and their families don’t fall through the cracks,” said Richards. “Any meaningful health care reform needs to lower costs, as well as expand coverage and access. Coverage won’t mean anything if people don’t have a trusted place to go for health care. As we move forward, we must build a strong health infrastructure that includes support for women’s primary care providers including family planning health centers.”
A 2008 report by the Massachusetts Medical Society shows that in Massachusetts, women have an average wait of 44 days to get an appointment with an ob/gyn.
Women are adversely affected when it comes to health care costs and access. According to the Guttmacher Institute, women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.
“Planned Parenthood believes that everyone benefits from healthy communities and healthy families,” said Richards. “We must develop a health care reform plan, which ensures that every person has access to affordable, high-quality health care, including comprehensive reproductive health care, from a provider of their choice.”
May 14, 2014