Republicans in Congress have been vocal about defunding Planned Parenthood for years now, and if the Senate’s new health care bill — which would repeal and replace Obamacare — is approved, they’ll finally get their wish.
Included in the text of the bill is a clause stripping Planned Parenthood of its Medicaid funding for one year, which means low-income Americans who rely on Medicaid for health insurance will no longer be able to seek care at Planned Parenthood clinics.
On the Rookie podcast, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards explained that Planned Parenthood is reimbursed by Medicaid when eligible patients visit the clinic for preventive care services, like STI and STD screenings, birth control, and Pap smears. Without that federal Medicaid reimbursement, patients with Medicaid will essentially not be able to go to Planned Parenthood — and Medicaid recipients make up more than half of Planned Parenthood’s 2.5 million patients.
Planned Parenthood is not reimbursed by Medicaid for any abortion services.
The below video does an amazing job making sense of it all:
All this talk of defunding Planned Parenthood began in 2011, when then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) threatened to shut down the government if PP kept its funding. The conversation started up again in 2015, when a series of deceptively edited — and since debunked — videos claimed to show that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit (it doesn’t). Some representatives have also railed against funding a health care provider that offers abortion services, even though no federal dollars are ever spent on abortion, thanks to the 1976 Hyde Amendment.
So what would defunding Planned Parenthood actually achieve? First of all, it would force the closure of many PP clinics that serve low-income communities, because they rely primarily on Medicaid reimbursements to keep their doors open.
Added to that is the fact that, according to Planned Parenthood, “In more than 20% of the counties where Planned Parenthood health centers operate, there are no other health care providers who serve patients who rely on safety-net providers,” meaning Medicaid recipients will have no other preventive health care options if they can’t visit their local Planned Parenthood.
The potential to wipe out reproductive and preventive health care for people across the country is huge if this bill passes. Even if funding is only lost for one year, that could spell certain death for many clinics that serve majority low-income communities. So take a stand now and call your senator to tell them you disagree with this bill.