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Members of the Senate Finance Committee,

I write to you today to respectfully urge a ‘no’ vote on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill scheduled to be heard in this committee on Monday, September 25, 2017. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill will decimate federal Medicaid funding to states like Minnesota, block patients from freely accessing the health care provider of their choice and will fundamentally threaten the health and well-being of American women.

Specifically Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson will:

  • Result in approximately 32 million fewer Americans with health insurance coverage by 2026.[1]
  • “Defund” Planned Parenthood, thereby blocking 24,000 Minnesotans with Medicaid from accessing birth control, lifesaving cancers screenings and STD testing and treatment at the provider of their choice (federal Medicaid funding is never used for abortions). [2]
    • Nationwide, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 390,000 women would lose access and up to 650,000 women could face reduced access to preventive care services within a year if Congress were to block all Medicaid patients from seeking care at Planned Parenthood clinics.[3]
    • In Minnesota, the Association of Minnesota Community Health Centers has stated that its clinics could not absorb the thousands of Planned Parenthood patients who would be forced to find care elsewhere if Planned Parenthood were defunded. [4]
    • Planned Parenthood is an essential part of Minnesota’s health care landscape, with more than half of our clinics located in rural or medically underserved area. We are an essential community provider for thousands of rural Minnesota women with limited access to primary care.
  • Slash federal Medicaid funding to Minnesota by at least $9.35 billion (a 30% reduction) by 2026[5] -  ballooning to a $37 billion loss by 2030[6]- jeopardizing coverage for 1.2 million Minnesotans.[7]
  • Defund MinnesotaCare, Minnesota’s Basic Health Plan, which provides subsidized health insurance for approximately 92,000 low-income, working Minnesotans. [1]
  • Weaken protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, including women who have had Caesarean sections, women who are pregnant and cancer survivors.[2]
  • End nationwide protections for maternity coverage, basic care coverage for women and other Essential Health Benefits.[3]

In short, Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. The policies in the bill will make it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to raise a family.

Doctors, hospitals, insurers, patient advocacy groups, provider organizations and state Medicaid Directors universally oppose this bill. Planned Parenthood joins these trusted organizations – including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, the American Health Insurance Program, the National Association of Medicaid Directors and many more - in expressing our deep concern and opposition to this bill.

One in five American women rely on Planned Parenthood for high-quality, affordable health care. On behalf of those women, and specifically on behalf of the 67,000 patients we see at our 19 clinics across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, I again urge you to vote ‘no’ on this dangerous bill and instead work toward a bipartisan solution that expands access to health care for all Americans.

Thank you,

Sarah Stoesz, President
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund

 

[1] Collins, Sarah. (2017, September 20). The Commonwealth Fund. What are the Potential Effects of the Graham-Cassidy ACA Repeal-and-Replace Bill? Past Estimates Provide Some Clues. http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2017/sep/potential-effects-of-graham-cassidy

[2] Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Family Planning Annual Report: Internal Data of Planned Parenthood Family Planning Encounters, 2016.

[3] CBO. (2015, September 16). Cost Estimate: H.R. 3134 Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015. https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/costestimate/hr3134.pdf

[4] Dickrell, Stephanie. (2017, August 8). St. Cloud Times. Health Centers Can’t Absorb Planned Parenthood Patients, Expert Says. http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2017/04/08/health-centers-cant-absorb-planned-parenthood-patients-expert-says/99842658/

[5] Garfield, Rachel, et al. (2017, September 21). Kaiser Family Foundation. State-by-State Estimates of Changes in Federal Spending on Health Care Under Graham-Cassidy Bill. http://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/state-by-state-estimates-of-changes-in-federal-spending-on-health-care-under-the-graham-cassidy-bill/

[6] Howatt, Glenn and Jennnifer Brooks. (2017, September 22). Star Tribune. Latest Health Care Repeal Bill in Senate Could Cost Minnesota Billions. http://www.startribune.com/latest-aca-repeal-bill-in-senate-could-cost-minnesota-billions/446589333/?ref=nl&om_rid=1577094601&om_mid=56985033

[7] Minnesota Department of Human Services. Health Care in Minnesota. https://mn.gov/dhs/aca-repeal/

[8] Ibid 6

[9] Chen, Amy. (2017, September 19). National Health Law Program. Top 10 Threats to Women’s Reproductive Health Under the Graham-Cassidy Bill. http://www.healthlaw.org/publications/browse-all-publications/top-10-threats-to-womens-reproductive-health-under-graham-cassidy-bill#.WcQiErpFyz4

[10] Ibid

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