WASHINGTON, DC, March 9, 2017 – The American Medical Association (AMA) announced its opposition to a GOP bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and block access to preventive care at Planned Parenthood through Medicaid, with devastating consequences for millions who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and other preventive care. In doing so, it joined a chorus of other medical groups that oppose blocking care at Planned Parenthood, including the American Public Health Association, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and many others.
In its letter to Congress, the AMA wrote:
“More than 20 million Americans currently have health care coverage due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and among the AMA’s highest priorities for on-going health system reform efforts is to ensure that these individuals maintain that coverage. While we agree that there are problems with the ACA that must be addressed, we cannot support the AHCA as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.
“In addition, choice of health care provider is an important element of a reformed health care system. The AMA cannot support provisions that prevent Americans from choosing to receive care from physicians and other qualified providers, in this specific case, those associated with Planned Parenthood affiliates, for otherwise covered services.”
Statement from Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“As a health care provider, I know what it means when patients are forced to delay or put off preventive screenings — which is exactly what would happen for millions if Congress cuts off care at Planned Parenthood. It means delaying an exam for a lump in your breast, or putting off an HIV test. It’s the difference between life and death. Every person deserves access to the care they need to lead a healthy and fulfilling life, and politics has no place in that.”
If enacted, prohibiting patients from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers would have a devastating impact on people and communities across America. It is important to note that federal funding does not go towards abortion, a law Planned Parenthood opposes but follows. Every year, 2.5 million people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services, and studies consistently show that proposals to “defund” Planned Parenthood would result in people losing access to health care. As experts have repeatedly said, other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other health care providers. This disproportionately impacts people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, young people, and members of the LGBTQ community — with those whose identities overlap facing multiple barriers.
The Facts on “Defunding” Planned Parenthood
FACT: The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid and/or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider that’s been there for them for decades. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services. This legislation instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular. According to an independent poll released in January, 70% of American voters oppose blocking patients from accessing Planned Parenthood – including 50% of Trump voters. a February 2017 Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed 77% of Iowans back funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive care, including 62% of Republicans and 62% of evangelical Christians. This goes along with 19 national polls that all show overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other quality health care providers. This disproportionately impacts people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, young people, and members of the LGBTQ community — with those whose identities overlap facing multiple barriers.
FACT: Support for Roe v. Wade is at the highest it’s ever been, with 7 out of 10 Americans saying they believe a woman should have the right to safe, legal abortion.
FACT: Other providers cannot just absorb Planned Parenthood’s patient base if it is cut off from federal programs. Politicians who want to deny patients using Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood often insist that other providers will fill the gap, but the experts at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Partnership for Women and Families said it flat out: They can’t. Even the executive director of the American Public Health Association has called such claims “ludicrous.”
FACT: Legislation denying access to care at Planned Parenthood was a health disaster in Texas. Two Texas public health investigators wrote in the Washington Post that when Texas passed legislation it was devastating – and shouldn’t be repeated in the rest of the country. A significant number of women also lost or had reduced access to primary care providers as a consequence of limiting patient options.
FACT: When lawmakers in Louisiana, Ohio, and Florida tried to block access to Planned Parenthood in the past, they suggested women could go to “alternative” providers for reproductive health care, including dentists, food banks, nursing homes, ENTs, elementary schools, rehabs, and retirement homes.
FACT: Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for care.
FACT: Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprised 10% of the country’s safety-net centers that offered family planning care in 2010, they served 36% of patients served by such centers. In 21 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood was the only safety-net family planning provider; and in 68 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood served at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.
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 approximately 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. www.ppfa.org