Planned Parenthood Praises Washington Legislature for Long Overdue Increase in Family Planning Funding
For Immediate Release: March 26, 2021 (Updated: March 26, 2021, 6 p.m.)
State House and Senate Proposed Budgets Include Critical Medicaid Reimbursement Rate Increases
OLYMPIA – Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai‘i (PPVNH) praises the Washington House and Senate budget proposals for the 2021-2023 biennium. Both budgets show critical investments in Medicaid reimbursement rates for safety net family planning providers. Rates for nearly all sexual and reproductive health care services have been flat for the last decade, lagging behind our neighboring states and failing to cover the costs of services.
“We’re pleased to see the Washington legislature’s budgets invest in the state’s safety net in this critical time as our state recovers from COVID-19,” said Jennifer Allen, CEO of PPVNH. “With the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous, and people of color and overwhelming working families across Washington, we should be doing everything in our power to expand access to health care. The proposed funding is the kind of action that will reduce disparities so that Planned Parenthood doors can stay open. Our democratic leaders have long been champions for reproductive rights, and these investments are a critical step in the fight for health equity.”
In December, Governor Jay Inslee took the first step to address the underfunded reimbursement rates by proposing an investment of $5 million to ensure patients with low incomes maintain access to care in Washington. The legislature included the $5.2 million in both of their budgets, which secures an additional $10.9 million in matching federal funds, to raise rates for providers in the state’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (formerly Title X).
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI) recently closed three health centers in Washington state—First Hill (Seattle), Kent, and Shelton. This decision was driven by severe inequities in the Medicaid reimbursement rate for family planning providers in our state, which has led to a loss of $167 for every Medicaid patient served by Planned Parenthood. Forty percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients use Medicaid — compared with 20 percent of the state’s population — making Planned Parenthood centers disproportionately reliant on Medicaid.
As the single largest provider of reproductive health care services, Planned Parenthood affiliates play a critical role in Washington state’s public health system. Planned Parenthood’s health centers in Washington offer access to preventive care, including birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, gender-affirming care, and abortion.
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai‘i (PPVNH) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policy-makers about reproductive health issues in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Hawaiʻi. PPVNH lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood's mission and also engages in limited electoral activities.