How much defunding Planned Parenthood would actually cost
Ending federal funding to Planned Parenthood would increase the number of live births in this country by the thousands while cutting services for women in poor areas and putting an additional strain on the Medicaid program, according to a federal analysis of the Republican replacement plan for Obamacare.
Cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which Republicans have vowed to do as part of their healthcare plan, would primarily affect low-income areas that lack other health providers, according to an analysis of the Republican plan by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday. About 15 percent of those people would lose access to care and leave women “without services that help women avert pregnancy.” This would lead to thousands of additional live births every year, according to the CBO report.
Republicans have proposed making Planned Parenthood ineligible for Medicaid reimbursements for at least one year, which the CBO estimates would reduce federal spending by $178 million in 2017 and by $234 million by 2026. But it would also increase Medicaid spending by $77 million by 2026, since cutting funding to the organization would actually lead to an increase in the number of births, many of which would be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid already pays for nearly half of all live births in this country.
The CBO report was part of an overall examination of how much the Republican healthcare plan would cost and who it would affect. The analysis found that the plan would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million in 2018 and 24 million by 2026.
Medicaid and other federal grants make up about 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s annual $1.3 million budget. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have long vowed to defund the organization because it also provides abortions, although no federal funds are allowed to pay for abortions already, with exceedingly rare exceptions. Abortions are a small minority of Planned Parenthood’s services; the nonprofit mostly provides other services, like cancer screenings, STI testing, contraception, education, and counseling to about 5 million Americans a year at its 650 centers.
In 2015, the CBO estimated that defunding Planned Parenthood permanently would cost the government $130 million directly over 10 years.
The Republican plan does not actually mention Planned Parenthood by name but rather merely proposes stripping any “class” of provider that receives federal funds and also provides abortions. This is a way to avoid violating an arcane Senate rule that prevents targeting a specific provider unrelated to the overall federal budget. But the CBO report found that the Republican proposal does just that by affecting Planned Parenthood alone.
Planned Parenthood slammed the Republican proposal following the report.
“The CBO also states that the ‘defund’ provision singles out Planned Parenthood, which reaffirms that the provision’s primary purpose is political, not budgetary,” Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations at Planned Parenthood said in a statement. “Thus, it should not be included in the Senate budget reconciliation bill.”
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