“Defund” efforts threaten to block millions of patients who depend on Medicaid or other public health care programs from accessing care through those programs at Planned Parenthood health centers.
The politicians pushing “defund” policies have one goal: to force Planned Parenthood patients to lose their chosen provider through the closure of Planned Parenthood health centers. If these politicians met this goal, they’d leave substantial numbers of patients with nowhere else to turn for health care.
Planned Parenthood Serves People Who Use Medicaid
Planned Parenthood plays an outsized role in serving Medicaid patients across the country. Nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s patients use Medicaid to access health care at Planned Parenthood health centers. That intensifies the potential impact of “defunding.”
Providers of gynecological care who accept Medicaid, such as Planned Parenthood, are in short supply nationwide.
There Aren’t Enough Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Providers Out There to Pick Up the Slack for the Care Planned Parenthood Health Centers Provide
Politicians who want to shut down Planned Parenthood have lied about how other providers could just somehow absorb Planned Parenthood’s family planning patients. This idea has been resoundingly dismissed by experts — in fact, the head of the American Public Health Association called it “ludicrous.”
- Planned Parenthood health centers are more likely than other safety-net family planning providers to offer rapid-result HIV testing and provide the full range of birth control including long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) on-site.
In 2020, Planned Parenthood provided over 10 million services. That includes: 2,565,910 birth control information and services; 5,434,446 STI testing and treatment; and 542,659 breast exams and Pap tests.
Planned Parenthood is also the only source of health care for many young women of reproductive age. In fact, many women prefer seeing sexual and reproductive health care providers as their main provider.
Patients feel more respected, know they are able to obtain confidential services, and recognize that staff members at providers like Planned Parenthood are especially well-versed in sexual health.
Provider Shortages Make Planned Parenthood’s Role Even More Important
Across the nation, a majority of Medicaid programs are experiencing provider shortages.
More than half of U.S. rural counties have no hospital obstetric services.
More than half of Planned Parenthood's health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas. Without Planned Parenthood, rural patients would often have nowhere else to turn for reproductive health care.
Nationally, Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers provide a wide range of preventive health care services to a total of 2.4 million patients per year.
Without Planned Parenthood, People Go Without Care
When people can’t access Medicaid coverage or are unable to see the provider they know and trust, they may simply forgo critical health care. This is evident in the data. After Texas excluded Planned Parenthood from the state’s Women’s Health Program:
Think about it:
An estimated one in five American women visits Planned Parenthood health centers during her lifetime. Without Planned Parenthood’s approximately 600 health centers across the country, many patients would not have timely access to basic preventive health care services.