Does the Government Fund Planned Parenthood?
With all the talk in Washington these days about “defunding Planned Parenthood,” you might think there’s a specific, Planned Parenthood line item in the federal budget that Congress and the president can just zero out. Turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
Most of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding is from Medicaid reimbursements for preventive care, and some is from Title X. There’s no keep-Planned-Parenthood-running part of the federal budget.
Here’s where “defunding” comes in:
At least 60% of Planned Parenthood patients rely on public health programs like Medicaid and Title X for their preventive and primary care. So, when you hear extreme politicians talking about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, they really mean blocking patients who rely on public health care programs from getting their care at Planned Parenthood centers — patients like Casey.
Legislation that “defunds” Planned Parenthood immediately blocks patients like Casey from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
Say It With Us Now: Most Federal Funding is Through Medicaid Reimbursements for Preventive Health Care
To really understand what federal funds pay for at Planned Parenthood, you first need to know that federal tax dollars don’t pay for abortions. A decades-old, unfair law already prohibits that (except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is in danger).
Again, most federal funding comes to Planned Parenthood in the form of reimbursements through Medicaid, the government-funded health insurance plan for people with low incomes. Just like other kinds of health insurance, Medicaid reimburses Planned Parenthood’s doctors and nurses for the preventive medical services they provide, including life-saving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control. There are no special favors here.
The majority of federal funds come through Planned Parenthood health centers via reimbursements for the medical services that they provide to patients who either have Medicaid coverage or qualify for other publicly funded health care programs (like Title X).
Planned Parenthood’s health centers also get federal funds for delivering vital services through Title X, the nation’s family planning program — funds that can only be used to support family planning health care.
Planned Parenthood serves 1.5 million of Title X’s over 4 million patients each year, helping people who often don’t have access to family planning care anywhere else. Without Planned Parenthood, many of these patients wouldn’t get the health care they need to take control of their lives.
In talking about funding, it’s important to note that:
The government saves $7 in Medicaid-related costs for every dollar invested in publicly funded family planning programs like Title X.
Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office projects that barring Planned Parenthood health centers from being reimbursed through Medicaid would result in a net cost of $130 million to taxpayers over 10 years due to an increase in unintended pregnancies without the high-quality contraceptive care that Planned Parenthood provides.
It is estimated that Planned Parenthood health centers prevent at least 579,000 unintended pregnancies a year.
Got That Now?
Just to reiterate: The federal government doesn’t cut a blank check to Planned Parenthood.
The public funds that Planned Parenthood’s health centers receive are mostly reimbursements for preventive services, which often aren’t available anywhere else. Without Planned Parenthood, there just aren’t enough health care providers to deliver the millions of medical services it provides each year.
No wonder poll after poll shows Americans strongly support Planned Parenthood. And that’s not just Blue America — it cuts across Republican and independent voters too. In fact, nearly half of Trump’s own supporters don’t want to see Planned Parenthood “defunded” either.
Impact Shutting Down Planned Parenthood
If politicians out to “defund” Planned Parenthood have their way, they will block millions of patients who depend on Medicaid and other public health care programs from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. And we all know their ultimate goal: To shut down all Planned Parenthood health centers. If that happens, it would cause a national health care disaster.
Many Planned Parenthood patients — nearly half of whom are people of color, and many of whom live in rural areas — would have nowhere else to turn for health care.
We won’t let that happen. Are you ready to fight back and stand with Planned Parenthood?