Failed Obamacare Repeal Saves Nearly Half of Ageny’s Budget
WASHINGTON – Planned Parenthood, which annually provides reproductive services to millions of women nationwide in 650 clinics, dodged a half-billion dollar bullet when Republicans Friday failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The repeal effort, which has been halted for now, would have included a $553 million cut to Planned Parenthood, more than 40 percent of the agency’s $1.3 billion budget.
African-American and Latino women would have been severely been impacted under the Republican plan. They make up 40 percent of Planned Parenthood clients.
Republicans targeted Planned Parenthood because it offers abortion services. The agency also offers cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing and contraceptives.
Less than 4 percent of its services are for abortion, the organization says.
Planned Parenthood does not use federal funds to provide abortion. Congress voted in 1976 to disallow use of federal funds to pay for the procedure.
Michelle, a 22-year-old woman in D.C., is among the millions of African-Americans who receives treatment from Planned Parenthood using Medicaid health insurance. During her visit to a clinic, she learned she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease and received the treatment she needed.
“I’m glad Planned Parenthood did not lose funding because without them I wouldn’t have been able to get the treatment I needed,” Michelle said in an interview “I just hope they don’t lose money later down the line.”
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said the Republican plan would have had a detrimental effect.
“Defunding Planned Parenthood is dangerous to people’s health,” Richards said via email. “It's unpopular, and it would leave people across the country without care.”
The Republican healthcare plan would have limited the use of Medicaid for women’s health services. About 75 percent of money Planned Parenthood receives from the government is through Medicaid.
South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott), an African-American, was among 29 members of Congress who introduced a bill in January to permanently prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortion, even though it has already been prohibited for 41 years, except in cases to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape.
Scott did not respond to emails and telephone calls for comment on the bill.
The plan to repeal and replace Obamacare was withdrawn after unanimous opposition from Democrats and moderate Republicans.
Prior to the plan’s failure, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, was highly critical of the proposal, which she called, “a huge step back for women.”
“Congress traded away women’s health and lives to get a few more votes from far-right extremists,” Laguens said in a statement. “Simply put, the American Health Care Act is the worst piece of legislation for women in a generation.”