Speaker Ryan Pushes Through the Worst Bill for Women’s Health in a Generation
Bill would deny millions access to cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment
Washington, DC – Today the U.S. House of Representatives rushed through a vote on the worst women’s health bill in a generation. The vote occurred before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) could even put a price tag on the costs of the bill and its devastating impacts. The American Health Care Act would:
- Take away health coverage for 24 million people.
- “Defund” Planned Parenthood by blocking people who rely on Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers — including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD 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 bill, including the provision to prohibit people with Medicaid coverage 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.
If enacted, this bill would have a devastating impact on the 2.5 million people across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services.
In March, the CBO estimated that the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision would result in reduced access to care for patients who live in areas where Planned Parenthood is the only health care option serving low-income populations. More than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Experts have repeatedly said that other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
“This bill makes it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family. Alarm bells should be ringing in every house across America.
“Since Speaker Ryan proposed preventing Planned Parenthood from providing health care under the Medicaid program, the response from Wisconsinites has been clear – taking health care away from women isn’t just politically unpopular, it’s dangerous. Studies confirm there is no ready provider in Wisconsin to care for the 60,000 patients who depend on Planned Parenthood for care, meaning some of the most vulnerable patients in our state would have no other health care resource.
“One in five women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for care. They will not stay silent as politicians vote to take away their care and their rights. Women and men across the country will fight to protect access to Planned Parenthood and to defeat this bill.
“The Senate should listen to the American people and reject the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.”
The term “defunding” 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.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. PPAWI engages in legislative and educational activity and works to elect candidates to office that support these goals.