Smithtown, NY -- Today, with Representatives Lee Zeldin and Peter King’s votes, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the worst women’s health legislation in a generation. The American Health Care Act would:

●      Take away health coverage for 24 million people.

●      “Defund” Planned Parenthood by blocking people with Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment.

●      Eliminate protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates. Under this bill, health insurance companies could once again charge people tens of thousands of dollars a month because they had cancer.

●      Undermine Essential Health Benefits standards, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women.

●      Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 4 women of reproductive age rely on to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.

●      Reduce access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control.

●      Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.

The American Health Care Act, including the provision to prohibit people with Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood, has drawn widespread opposition from health care experts, including the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, members of Congress from both parties, and a clear majority of American voters.

Statement by Vincent Russell, Interim President/CEO:

“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. By supporting this bill, Representatives Zeldin and King just voted to block thousands of their constituents in Long Island and millions of people around the country, from essential health care.

“This legislation “defunds” Planned Parenthood, and blocks approximately 102,000 Medicaid recipients in New York from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing at Planned Parenthood, that will make it harder for women in Long Island to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.

“One study found that a woman who was previously pregnant could be charged an additional $17,000 per year for coverage.

“Our supporters and patients will not go quietly as Representatives Zeldin and King and DC politicians vote to take away their care. Women and men across the country will continue to speak out to defeat this bill and efforts to block access to Planned Parenthood.

“The Senate should listen to the American people and reject the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.”

As attention now turns toward the Senate, three things are clear:

1.     The Senate does not have the votes to pass the House version of the American Health Care Act which includes “defunding” Planned Parenthood.

2.     The Senate should listen to the 80% of the public who support Planned Parenthood and oppose efforts to block people from getting care at Planned Parenthood.” (Quinnipiac Poll, 3/23/17)

3.     The American people want Congress to keep the protections in the Affordable Care Act. A recent ABC-Washington Post poll shows that 62 percent of Americans, including 67% of Independents, want to keep national protections that cover essential health benefits, and not allow it to be varied by state.

The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. Planned Parenthood does not get a blank check from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Planned Parenthood receives reimbursements, just like hospitals and other health care organizations, for providing preventive care. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services.