Washington, DC -- Making claims that health care experts have called “ludicrous,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) tonight repeated debunked assertions about the ability of Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHCs) to be able to absorb Planned Parenthood patients. In Wisconsin, Ryan’s home state, Planned Parenthood served 58% of all contraceptive clients served at publicly funded centers in the states.
During a CNN televised town hall, a college student and Planned Parenthood patient shared her clear concern about where she would be able to get care in light of the attacks on Planned Parenthood. Paul Ryan responded by doubling down on his intent to prohibit federal funds to reimburse Planned Parenthood for the millions of health services we provide to Medicaid patients
Speaker Ryan’s comments come the same day that Guttmacher Institute report released a new report showing that Planned Parenthood health centers are critical to the health care safety net, delivering irreplaceable high-quality contraceptive care to a majority of women who rely on public funds for health care. It also makes it clear that other safety net providers cannot “fill the overwhelming hole torn in the safety net” if Congress “defunds” Planned Parenthood, as Republican leaders have promised to do.
Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Let’s be clear: Paul Ryan’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood would cut millions of women off from cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams, many of whom would be left with nowhere else to turn. Paul Ryan would cut millions of women off from the health care provider they’ve depended on for decades. It was alarming to see that the Speaker of the House continues to blindly dismiss health care experts, at the cost of Americans’ well being. Nearly 60,000 people in Paul Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin depend on Planned Parenthood for care, including thousands in his own hometown. Paul Ryan is literally playing politics with women’s lives, and campaigning against the interests of his own constituents. ”
Ryan’s disregard for real people of all backgrounds - especially people of color, people living in rural areas, including parts of Wisconsin, and immigrant communities - and a breathtaking dismissal of the recommendations of the public health community is part of an agenda that Americans overwhelmingly reject. Nearly 50% of President-elect Trump’s own voters oppose efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
Ryan also repeated false claims that Planned Parenthood funds are fungible. The vast majority of government funds that Planned Parenthood affiliates receive are reimbursements for specific health services provided to Medicaid patients who choose Planned Parenthood as their provider, and all federal funds are restricted and used for specific purposes. Federal funds are prohibited from covering abortion as a result of the prohibitive Hyde amendment (which Planned Parenthood opposes) except in the dire circumstances of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is in jeopardy. Planned Parenthood fully complies with this and all government restrictions.
Ryan’s comments come one week after he promised to defund Planned Parenthood as a part of the ACA repeal legislation, cutting millions off from their trusted provider. Planned Parenthood operates 22 health centers in Wisconsin, including in Ryan’s district. There are tens of thousands of Wisconsinites – thousands of Ryan’s own constituents – who will lose their health care if defunding goes through. In more than a quarter of Wisconsin counties, Planned Parenthood serves a majority of women in need of publicly-funded contraceptive services. In 15% of all Wisconsin counties, Planned Parenthood serves 100% of publicly-funded family planning patients.
Today’s Guttmacher report also found that Planned Parenthood health centers are most likely to both offer a full range of contraceptive services, and offer hours that accommodate women’s busy lives compared to other safety net providers, such as federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and health departments. It includes the damning conclusion that, “Policies excluding Planned Parenthood from the family planning safety net disregard the facts and would have negative consequences for women nationwide.”
Other health providers cannot “absorb” Planned Parenthood patients:
- The idea that other providers could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly dismissed by experts. In fact, Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, called the idea “ludicrous."
- “The assertion that community health centers could step into a breach of this magnitude is simply wrong and displays a fundamental misunderstanding of how the health care system works.” — Sara Rosenbaum, J.D.; Founding Chair of the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
- In many counties, there simply are no other providers who serve Medicaid patients. More than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in rural or underserved areas. In 21 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood is the only safety net family planning provider; in 68 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood serves at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.
- Many of the lists of “replacement” providers don’t even provide reproductive health care. In Louisiana, the state list of alternative providers included dentists and nursing homes. In Florida, the state list included school nurses. In Ohio, it included food banks.
- America is already facing a reproductive health care provider shortage: Across the nation, a majority of Medicaid programs are experiencing provider shortages, with over two-thirds of states reporting difficulty in ensuring enough providers, including specialty care (ob-gyn care in particular) for Medicaid enrollees.
- Planned Parenthood plays an outsized role: Per the Guttmacher Institute, although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10 percent of all publicly funded family planning centers, they serve 36 percent of all clients who obtain care from the family planning health center network. [See: Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinics in 2015: Patterns and Trends in Service Delivery Practices and Protocols, November 2016]
- Most other providers don’t provide a full range of reproductive health care services: A 2015 survey of publicly funded health clinics found that virtually all (99 percent) of Planned Parenthood health centers provide at least 10 reversible birth control method on-site, compared with 71-81 percent of other providers. Only 19 percent of Community Health Centers (CHCs) reported that their largest sites both prescribe and dispense offer all contraceptive methods on-site. Approximately half of CHCs receiving Title X funding provide IUDs or implants on-site, and 25 percent do not provide oral contraceptives on-site.
Defunding Planned Parenthood would cost money:
- The conservative CBO projects that barring Planned Parenthood health centers from being reimbursed through Medicaid would result in a net cost of $130 million to taxpayers over 10 years, due to an increase in unintended pregnancies without the high-quality contraceptive care Planned Parenthood provides. In fact, it is estimated Planned Parenthood health centers prevent 579,000 unintended pregnancies each year.
Young people and women of color would be disproportionately affected: Blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood would have a disproportionate impact on young people and on communities of color.
- We already know that Black women are twice as likely to lose their lives to cervical cancer.
- Latinas are more likely to die of breast cancer, even when diagnosed at similar ages.
- Many of the states where Planned Parenthood serves the highest percentage of Black and Latino patients are also where access to care has been threatened in the last year. There are now 24 states that have passed senseless legislation and regulations that have threatened over 300,000 Black and Latino patients’ access to care at Planned Parenthood.
- Approximately 70% of Planned Parenthood patients are under 30.
- People under 26 make up 60% of Medicaid enrollees, and thus who would be immediately impacted by defunding.
- CBO says over a million will lose access to care within a year - The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 390,000 women would lose access and up to 650,000 women could face reduced access to preventive health care within a year if Congress were to block all Medicaid patients from seeking care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
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 over 650 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.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
January 13, 2017