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“This would cause a health care disaster in Paul Ryan’s own backyard,” says Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON, DC -- A new report from Health Management Associates (HMA) confirms that blocking access to health care at Planned Parenthood would have devastating consequences for its patients in Wisconsin and across the country. This follows Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) pledge last week to “defund” Planned Parenthood and cut off health care for millions of patients who access quality preventive and basic care, like cancer screenings and birth control, at hundreds of health centers across the country.

HMA’s findings thoroughly debunk Ryan’s claim that other providers can simply absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients, an idea the American Public Health Association called  “ludicrous.” The HMA study authors write, “there would be a significant family planning provider shortage for Medicaid enrollees in the state if PPWI health centers are no longer able to participate in the state’s Medicaid program.”

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Blocking care at Planned Parenthood would cause a health care disaster in Paul Ryan’s own backyard and across the country. This report reinforces what we already know and what those who see patients at Planned Parenthood’s health centers see each and every day – that ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood would be the hardest on people who already face far too many barriers to health care as young people, people of color, those who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes.

“We’ve seen the devastating effects of cutting care in states already. We saw what happened in Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana, when Planned Parenthood shut down and residents of Scott County were left with nowhere to turn for HIV tests in the face of an epidemic. Now Paul Ryan is threatening the same fate for Wisconsinites and people across the country. This is not what the American public wants, and not what they voted for. Planned Parenthood isn’t the problem; it’s the solution

The reality is that people of color in the U.S. face more barriers to accessing health care than white people due to the intersections of racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and and other systemic barriers. This is made even worse when politicians block access to care at Planned Parenthood, as this report demonstrates. The authors write, "Without PPWI health centers' participation in the state’s Medicaid program, low-income women, particularly low-income women of color, will face significant barriers to accessing family planning services and other reproductive health care. As a result, unintended pregnancy rates and STI/HIV rates could increase, resulting in exacerbated health disparities and producing detrimental health impacts for individuals in these counties and for the state as a whole."

Among other findings, HMA’s report shows:

  • More than 70 percent of counties Planned Parenthood serves in Wisconsin have a shortage of health care providers.

  • Nearly half of the counties Planned Parenthood serves in Wisconsin will have no alternative family planning  provider to receive care from if Planned Parenthood closes. In four counties, women would be left with only one other health care provider to turn to for family planning.

  • Without Planned Parenthood, half of the counties included in Ryan's own district (Racine, Walworth, and Waukesha) will have zero or just one family planning provider.

  • “Defunding” Planned Parenthood would have a disproportionate impact on those who already face far too many barriers to health care as people of color, people who live in rural areas, or people with low incomes. In Wisconsin, 30 percent of Planned Parenthood health center patients are Black and 19 percent are Latino, which are higher proportions than in the general population of the state.

  • In many cases, alternate providers don’t offer the same range of services, hours of operation, or availability of appointments, confirming new research from the Guttmacher Institute.

  • Each year, Planned Parenthood’s health centers in Wisconsin care for approximately 60,000 women, men, and young people – around 40,000 of whom are insured through Medicaid and who would suffer if Congress “defunds” Planned Parenthood.

HMA is a leading independent national research and consulting firm in the healthcare industry.