As the House of Representatives votes on the latest iteration of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replace, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), it's important to understand the effect that the potential new health care bill would have on Americans. For a long time, the GOP has called for a defunding of Planned Parenthood and stood against the organization that provides essential health care to low-income women across the nation. So, how will the AHCA affect Planned Parenthood's funding? UPDATE: The AHCA has officially passed the House with a majority of votes, 217 to 213.
The Republican mission to defund the women's health organization is alive and well in the newest version of Trumpcare. Just like the original proposition, the new version would gut federal funding of the organization.
According to NPR in 2015, about 43 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget came from government funding via grants and reimbursements. Time reported that 60 percent of the organization's federal funding comes from Medicaid and Title X. However, the AHCA bans Medicaid from being used at Planned Parenthood because it bans federal funding from going to organizations that provide abortions. Normally, Medicaid reimburses Planned Parenthood after they treat Medicaid patients. So, Medicaid patients would no longer be able to go to Planned Parenthood for their care.
It's important to remember that because of the Hyde Amendment, Planned Parenthood cannot use its federal money toward providing abortions. So, the money that they're getting is going toward essential, life-saving health care services like STD testing, cancer screenings, and birth control.
The Government Accountability Office estimated that if Congress cuts Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, 390,000 women would lose access to preventative care, and up to 650,000 would receive reduced preventative care, according to CBS News.
Besides federal funding, Planned Parenthood also receives money through donations. In fact, Planned Parenthood reportedly saw a spike in donations following President Donald Trump's election victory — about 80,000 donations in three days. While donations from the public definitely help, they aren't a constant reliable stream of support for an organization that serves women daily.
If the organization were forced to rely on donations alone, its ability to operate normally would certainly be threatened. Although Planned Parenthood's federal funding makes up less than half of their annual budget, it would still put a lot of pressure on the organization should that be taken away.
While the AHCA may not totally destroy Planned Parenthood, it's certainly a blow for the organization that each year gives millions of women — and men — safe and legal health care. Republicans may be dead set on defunding it, but it's up to Americans to talk to their representatives to let them know that they do not support the defunding of Planned Parenthood and urge them to vote against the AHCA.