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WASHINGTON — Early this morning the U.S. Senate set the reconciliation process in motion by passing a budget resolution that can make important investments in our families, lower costs, and increase access to essential sexual and reproductive health care. This process must move swiftly — with people across the country continuing to face the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, critical health care priorities require urgent attention. This must include finishing the expansion of Medicaid in the 12 states that have yet to expand care for their residents, a move that could bring health coverage to more than 800,000 women of reproductive age.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: 

“We’re facing a drastic increase in COVID-19 cases, and yet all too often Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ people, and women are denied access to the health care they need. Right now, 4 million people who should have access to Medicaid, including more than 800,000 women of reproductive age, are currently without health insurance — in large part because state politicians refuse to expand Medicaid. The Senate has now opened the door for a package that can close this Medicaid coverage gap, advance equitable access to health care, including maternal health care, and lower costs for our families. We urge Congress to move swiftly—they will have Planned Parenthood supporters by their side.”

Planned Parenthood is working with health champions in Congress to ensure the upcoming reconciliation package expands access to essential health care. The Senate budget resolution helps advance health equity by outlining a bill aimed at:

  • lowering health care costs by finishing Medicaid expansion across all states and expanding access to affordable health coverage under the Affordable Care Act;

  • making investments to address the maternal health crisis;

  • recognizing the humanity of 11 million undocumented people by creating a pathway to citizenship; 

  • centering women — particularly women of color — in all solutions and relief, including through investments in child care and early education as well as paid family and medical leave;

  • and more. 

Planned Parenthood will continue to work with members of Congress to ensure the final reconciliation legislation does not restrict access to essential health care. 

Medicaid is already the largest payer of reproductive health care in the nation, paying for over 42% of all births in the United States and 75% of publicly funded family planning services. Yet the 12 states refusing to expand Medicaid are putting continuous health coverage out of reach for more than 800,000 women of reproductive age. 

Expanding the Medicaid programs in the 12 states refusing to do so would provide health insurance coverage to 2.2 million people with incomes below the federal poverty line who are currently uninsured. It would also open Medicaid coverage to an additional 1.8 million uninsured adults who are eligible for private health insurance plans through the ACA, but unable to afford them. 

Groups who face systemic discrimination and barriers to economic advancement — many communities of color, LGBTQ+ people, and women — are more likely than others to have low incomes. This makes them more likely to be insured by Medicaid or to fall into this coverage gap. Medicaid’s role in addressing health inequities and access issues has only become more important during the pandemic. Closing the coverage gap is essential to building a better, stronger country and public health system.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all 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, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.