WASHINGTON — Today, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (Action Fund) announced its endorsements of MJ Hegar in Texas and Dr. Al Gross in Alaska for the U.S. Senate, along with House challengers Dr. Pritesh Gandhi (TX-10), Phil Arballo (CA-22), and Hillary Scholten (MI-03). As the nation struggles to address the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear how urgently we need champions in Congress who will protect the health and rights of everyone in America, and who will show strong leadership in the face of a crisis.
This announcement is part of the Action Fund’s continued endorsement of federal candidates committed to reproductive health and rights around the country.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“During this public health crisis, it’s more clear than ever that we need champions like MJ Hegar and Dr. Al Gross in the U.S. Senate. As a doctor, Al Gross has seen firsthand how health care access has changed his patients’ lives in Alaska and he has committed to protecting reproductive rights if he is elected. And MJ Hegar has boldly made protecting Medicare and other essential health care programs a central issue in her campaign in Texas.
“For years, Republican leadership in the White House and Senate have pushed policy after policy to undermine our health care — trying to strip health care coverage for millions, endangering reproductive health and rights, and leaving us woefully unprepared to respond as COVID-19 sweeps across the nation. Americans deserve to have representatives in Congress who put them first. We know MJ and Al will fight tirelessly to make sure every person — regardless of their income or their ZIP code — has access to the health care they need.”
Since taking office, the Trump administration has pushed legislation to attack access to health care and rights. They’ve tried to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, block access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers, and undermine important safety net programs such as Title X and Medicaid. The impact of these policies is felt acutely now, as our nation responds to the growing COVID-19 emergency.
Get the facts on the Trump administration’s efforts to chip away at health care access:
- FACT: After the White House’s top official in charge of response to a global pandemic left the administration, the White House did not fill the role and instead disbanded the National Security Council’s entire global health security team.
- FACT: The Trump administration assigned leadership of its coronavirus response to Vice President Mike Pence, who exacerbated a devastating HIV outbreak as governor of Indiana because he had personal “moral” objections to CDC-approved measures like providing clean syringes.
- FACT: The Trump administration sabotaged the Affordable Care Act by drastically curbing enrollment assistance, allowing junk health insurance plans on the marketplaces, and reducing the number of people who have health insurance today. The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit that could gut the protections and coverage established by the ACA. In addition, state politicians across the county have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of people without needed health insurance.
- FACT: The Trump administration pushed for Medicaid work requirements, an additional barrier to health insurance that is proven to kick tens of thousands of people off their health care. Women, particularly women of color, are significantly more likely to lose coverage as a result of these work requirements.
- FACT: The Trump administration attempts to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers in any way they can, including their Title X gag rule that forced Planned Parenthood out of the nation’s only dedicated affordable birth control program. The administration also encourages states to block people with Medicaid from accessing Planned Parenthood health centers. Many communities already have extreme health care provider shortages, and Planned Parenthood is often the only trusted provider. We’re in the midst of urgent public health crises — not just COVID-19 but also the opioid epidemic and extremely high rates of STIs — we need a strong public health safety net, not fewer trusted providers in our communities.
- FACT: The Trump administration's cruel public charge rule was designed to keep immigrant families from accessing health care and basic needs. Experts believe that the rule could weaken America’s response to COVID-19 by preventing immigrant families from seeking health care.
- FACT: The Trump administration proposed gutting CDC funding by 16 percent in the FY21 Budget, even amidst the early warning signs of a global pandemic. In fact, despite the rising threat to public health, top Trump officials continue to irresponsibly defend the agency cuts. There is no fiscal reason that could justify stripping down the nation’s life-saving health care infrastructure when we need it the most.
- FACT: The Trump administration proposed a budget for FY21 that would slash funding for Health and Human Services (HHS) health care programs, including over $900 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years. Without access to safety-net health care coverage, many people with low incomes or people who live in rural areas will have no options to cover the cost of care, leading to delayed testing and treatment for the deadly virus. The Trump administration stacked HHS with anti-abortion ideologues like Secretary Alex Azar, who spent his time on TV to tout his anti-abortion agenda while confirmed cases of COVID-19 were on the rise.
Find Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s presidential candidate spotlight here.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.