Even as progress is made in Massachusetts, fight to protect patients around the country continues,
Statement from Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts regarding Governor Baker’s public commitment to mitigate impact of federal “defunding” of Planned Parenthood health centers:
I thank Governor Baker for his commitment to the health and wellbeing of Planned Parenthood patients. Yet no Governor should be put in position of trying to mitigate attacks on women in his or her state made by Congress. At a time when extreme politicians in Congress want to block millions of people from accessing essential preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers, it is reassuring to see Governor Baker put the health and wellbeing of our communities ahead of politics. Governor Baker’s support for Planned Parenthood’s patients makes clear that women’s health, sexual and reproductive health, and access to affordable health care are all non-partisan issues. I hope his fellow Republican colleagues in Washington, D.C. take note of Governor Baker’s leadership and follow suit.
Governor Baker’s commitment to invest state funds in response to any federal ‘defunding’ law affirms the important role that Planned Parenthood plays in keeping Massachusetts’ communities healthy. Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts health centers provide high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care to more than 30,000 women, men, and young people every year. Without state intervention, a federal ‘defunding’ law would be devastating for thousands of Planned Parenthood patients who rely on MassHealth to receive critical preventive services like cancer screenings, pap tests, birth control, and STD testing and treatment.
Massachusetts is again showing it is a leader in health care access, but no one’s right to access health care should be decided by their zip code and no state should have to step in to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to ensure everyone has access to care. This progress here in Massachusetts does not change the fact that this dangerous ‘defunding’ scheme would cause a national health disaster for millions-- and that’s why we’re still going to mobilize our supporters at our rally on the Boston Common this Saturday and stand with Planned Parenthood patients around the country.
The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no line item in the federal budget for Planned Parenthood. Like any other health care provider, Planned Parenthood is reimbursed by insurance companies for services provided to patients. When extreme politician call for “defunding” Planned Parenthood, they are seeking to deny Medicaid reimbursements for preventive services provided by Planned Parenthood, blocking millions of people from accessing preventive care at the health care provider of their choice. Patients are already barred from using federal Medicaid insurance to cover abortion care. This “defunding” plan would impact patients’ ability to access preventive services only. In Massachusetts, state Medicaid dollars cover abortion care.
Last week, a leaked draft of House Republicans’ bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act included a provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood. If enacted, millions of patients who depend on Medicaid, including those on MassHealth, would be prohibited from using their insurance at Planned Parenthood health centers for preventive care, such as cancer screenings, pap tests, birth control, and STD testing and treatment, including HIV tests. Those hurt most by this political attack will be patients who already face barriers to care, particularly people of color, people with low incomes, and people in rural communities. Without access to Planned Parenthood health centers, many patients would not have timely access to basic preventive health care services.
Approximately 30 percent of the 31,000 patients Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) cares for each year rely on MassHealth or Medicaid managed care insurance.
New polling shows that voters overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood. Sixty-two percent of voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, while only 31 percent of voters support it. When those voters are informed of what “defunding” Planned Parenthood actually means, only 12 percent of voters support defunding Planned Parenthood, according to Quinnipiac. A June 2016 poll found 88 percent of Massachusetts voters support government funding for access to family planning services for low-income earners.