Health

Draft Obamacare Bill Cuts Planned Parenthood Funds

| by Jordan Smith

A draft bill prepared by Republicans to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, contains a provision to defund Planned Parenthood.

The draft was completed on Feb. 10, so subsequent changes may have been made since, according to The Hill.

On Jan. 5, House Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed that Republicans intended to pass a reconciliation bill removing the essentials of Obamacare.

"Planned Parenthood legislation will be in our reconciliation bill," Ryan said at the time, according to The Hill.

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The language in the draft would prevent Planned Parenthood and other organizations carrying out abortions from accessing Medicaid funding for one year. Planned Parenthood says more than half of its patients rely on Medicaid to cover their healthcare costs.

The draft permitted exceptions to this rule for rape, incest and cases where the woman's life is at risk.

Republicans have a narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate, and some do not support linking the defunding of Planned Parenthood to the ending of Obamacare.

"I ... do not believe that Planned Parenthood has any place in our deliberations on the Affordable Care Act," Sen. Lisa Murkowski of  Alaska said. "Taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions, but I will not vote to deny Alaskans access to the health services that Planned Parenthood provides."

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Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined with Murkowksi in 2015 in an attempt to remove a defunding provision from a Senate bill to repeal Obamacare.

Some House Republicans also have doubts.

"We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill," Rep. John Faso of New York added. However, Faso noted that he is not opposed to attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.

In a Feb. 24 statement, Planned Parenthood said that if the draft bill were passed, then the move would have a "devastating impact on healthcare in America."

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for Planned Parenthood, added: "An estimated one in five women in America will rely on Planned Parenthood for care at some point in her life. Access to basic women's health care shouldn’t get caught up in congressional Republicans' extreme agenda."

One attempt to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level has recently been thwarted.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia vetoed a bill on Feb. 21 that would have blocked funding to the organization. The bill called for funding to be removed from clinics performing abortions not covered by Medicaid, Reuters reports.

Sources: The Hill, (2), Reuters / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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