Planned Parenthood Action Fund Denounces Congressional Attacks on Affordable Health Care in House and Senate Budget Votes

WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Action Fund denounced budget resolutions passed by both the House and Senate which make draconian funding cuts on the backs of women and families already struggling to make ends meet. Both budgets irresponsibly seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has already brought health care coverage to nearly 26 million Americans and would roll back historic benefits for the 48.5 million women who are benefiting from no-copay preventive care, including no-copay birth control.  The budget resolution would further undermine women's health by dismantling and imposing deep cuts to Medicaid, which provides basic health care and family planning services to millions of women, including well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, and birth control.

In the following statement, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards denounced these efforts, calling on Congress to focus instead on policies that will move the country, and the economy, forward on women’s health and rights.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“It’s troubling that some members of Congress continue to make budget cuts on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable women and families. What’s clear is that this is not the direction the country wants to go.

“The good news is that, unlike in recent years, no additional anti-women’s health measures were added to the budget.  That’s a clear sign that anti-women’s health politicians are beginning to recognize that these attacks on abortion and birth control are deeply unpopular.  Instead of voting on these attacks head-on, they’ve resorted to sneaking them into unrelated legislation.

“We urge Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McConnell and their allies to stop playing politics with women’s health and instead make investments in programs that are proven to work. In fact, investing in family planning actually helps reduce the deficit. Studies show that for every public dollar invested in family planning programs, taxpayers save approximately $7.

“As the leading advocate for the one in five women who has visited a Planned Parenthood health center, we understand the real health and economic impact that these cuts would have on women and their families across the country. They are dangerous, they are wrong and they are out of touch.”

BACKGROUND

The budget proposals authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi make significant cuts on the backs of working women and families and fail to invest in programs that are proven to work.

The House and Senate budgets:

  • Sacrifice women’s access to health care by repealing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, including no-copay birth control and elimination of gender rating. Thanks to the ACA, an estimated 48.5 million women are now benefiting from new or expanded access to preventive health care, including no-copay birth control. Overall, the uninsured rate among women ages 18 to 64 has dropped 5.5 percentage points in the last two years alone. Nearly 11.7 million people, including about 6.3 million women, and about 4.1 million people of color, have signed up for health insurance coverage in the Marketplaces for 2015. The vast majority (about 86 percent) of people who signed up in the Marketplace — or about 10 million people — qualified to receive financial assistance to help buy coverage.  Financial help, in the form of premium subsidies or tax credits, has enabled millions of consumers to afford coverage for the first time. 
  • Gut the Medicaid program as we know it, by turning Medicaid into a block grant with dramatically reduced funding. Block granting would result in turning back the progress of Medicaid expansion and effectively cutting off access to quality preventive and primary care for millions of individuals. Medicaid provides coverage to one in ten women nationally. Off those, one in five women have incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Moreover, nearly three-quarters (72%) of adult women in Medicaid are of reproductive age (18 to 44).  
  • Continue devastating cuts to nondefense discretionary programs, which include the Title X Family Planning Program and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Neither the House nor the Senate budget resolutions stop sequestration in FY 2016, and both budgets cut nondefense discretionary funding even further beginning in 2017. In so doing, the budgets ignore calls from 2,100 organizations to replace harmful sequestration cuts now with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that recognizes the equal importance of defense and nondefense programs in our national and economic security.