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WASHINGTON, DC -- Planned Parenthood Action Fund released the following statement on the The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, put forward this week by Sen. Richard Burr (NC), Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT), and Rep. Fred Upton (MI). Despite its misleading title, the proposal is yet another attempt by conservative politicians to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s critical health benefits and protections for women and families.  

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

“This proposal is at best an insult to women and at worst a dangerous effort to strip away coverage for birth control, maternity benefits, mammograms, and other critical preventive health care. Let’s call this what it is: An attack on women’s health by politicians who want to take the country backward, not move us forward. This plan is completely out of touch with the vast majority of the American public, who want Congress to expand women’s access to health care and economic opportunity.

“Planned Parenthood Action Fund and our supporters fought hard for the Affordable Care Act, because we believe that all people — no matter where they live or how much money they have — deserve access to high-quality affordable health care, and coverage for the full range of reproductive health services. We’ve made huge progress over the last several years in public health outcomes for women and families and we will not go back.”

The CARE Act would take away critical protections for women and families — sending women back to the days where they can be charged more for health insurance, and denied coverage based on so-called “pre-existing conditions,” like a previous pregnancy or abnormal Pap test. It would also take women back to the days of paying upwards of $600 a year on copays for birth control (a benefit that saved American women $483 million on birth control pills in the first year alone) and other preventive care(including well-woman exams, immunizations, and cervical cancer screenings), hospital stays, emergency services, maternity and newborn care, and more.  The plan also seeks to block grant Medicaid — a dangerous proposal that could effectively result in cutting off low-income Americans’ access to quality health care. 

The ACA has benefited millions of Americans already and the CARE Act could hurt those American families who are now able to access quality, affordable coverage.

     More than 9.5 million individuals have enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace during this open enrollment period, and it is expected that more individuals will continue to enroll through the end of the open enrollment period (February 15, 2015). More than half of those enrolled in Marketplace coverage are women. About 4.5 million women have gained access to quality, affordable coverage through the Marketplaces, enabling them to receive important women’s health services, including prenatal care, birth control, maternity care, and breastfeeding support and supplies. An additional 10.1 million individuals have been able to obtain Medicaid or CHIP coverage since the first open enrollment period in October 2013.

     Over 116 million men, women, and children are able to benefit from coverage of expanded preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs under the ACA.  This includes services like immunizations, HIV screening, and blood pressure screenings. Thanks to the ACA, an estimated 48.5 million women are already benefiting from preventive care at no cost, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, breast feeding support and supplies, well-woman exams, and birth control.

     Medicaid is particularly important for women.  Women comprise more than two-thirds of the adult Medicaid population.  With Medicaid coverage, women are able to receive important health care including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.