The CBO confirms that the provision would result in patients losing access to health care.
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their score of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill. The CBO score highlights several key points regarding the provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood — here are the top three points.
The CBO score of the ACA repeal bill reaffirms what we already know: the provision to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood would have disastrous consequences and result in women losing access to care, especially services that help women prevent unintended pregnancies. We’ve made tremendous gains in this country thanks to expanded access to reproductive health care and birth control: We are at a 30-year low in unintended pregnancies, and a historic low in teen pregnancies. Now is not the time to roll that progress back.
—Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
1) The “Defund” Provision Would Result in Reduced Access to Health Care
The CBO estimates 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 or where Planned Parenthood serves low-income populations.
The report states that,
“The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations. CBO projects that about 15% of those people would lose access to care.”
2) The “Defund” Provision Targets Planned Parenthood
The CBO is totally clear that the provision singles out Planned Parenthood. It states: "CBO expects that, according to those criteria, only Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates and clinics would be affected.”
This undermines proponents’ claim that the provision does not violate the Byrd Rule because it affects a “class of providers,” and not just Planned Parenthood.
This also confirms that the purpose for including the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision in the ACA repeal bill is not budgetary. Instead, the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision is to advance the political goal of preventing Planned Parenthood health centers from participating in the federal Medicaid program.
It would appear that this provision violates the Byrd Rule, since the Byrd Rule stipulates that if a provision’s budgetary impact is “merely incidental” to the non-budgetary components of the provision, it should not qualify for reconciliation in the United States Senate.
3) Loss of Coverage and Long-Term Costs
As a result of the plan to not provide Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood — coupled with increased spending for Medicaid services for patients who would have reduced access to care — the CBO estimates that “defunding” Planned Parenthood for one year would result in $156 million less in direct spending from the federal government over 10 years.
This is significantly less than the $235 million in savings CBO estimated for the same provision in 2015. Of note, CBO has previously estimated that permanently defunding Planned Parenthood would actually cost the federal government $130 million over ten years.
The CBO score also highlights the disastrous consequences of repealing the ACA bill: 14 million more Americans would be uninsured next year, reaching 24 million by 2026.
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The fact is, one in five women in America has relied on Planned Parenthood, and their health care shouldn't get caught up in congressional Republicans' extreme agenda to undermine access to preventive care.
The CBO also states that the “defund” provision singles out Planned Parenthood, which reaffirms that the provision’s primary purpose is political — not budgetary. That’s just one reason why the “defund” provision should not be included in the Senate budget reconciliation bill.