Planned Parenthood Cuts Would Curtail Care Access, CBO Says

Planned Parenthood funding cuts would save taxpayers $235 million over a decade, but also reduce health care access for nearly 400,000 women and children.

Planned Parenthood funding cuts would save taxpayers $235 million over a decade, but also reduce health care access for nearly 400,000 women and children.

A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) evaluated the repercussions of cutting Planned Parenthood’s $450 million annual funding from the federal government, which includes $390 million in yearly Medicaid reimbursements.

Despite the potential savings, these funding cuts would increase Medicaid costs by nearly $60 million as a result of additional unplanned pregnancies among women lacking access to birth control, CBO said.

CBO conceded that its estimates are “highly uncertain” because it is unclear whether Planned Parenthood would be able to obtain the funding from other sources.

Currently, the non-profit organization receives about two-thirds of its annual funding from private sources and revenue generated by its reproductive, maternal, and child health services.

The US House of Representatives will soon vote on H.R. 3134, a bill that would stop federal payments to Planned Parenthood for 1 year pending an investigation into the program’s activities.

The bill’s authors have stated that the funds could be directed to other community health centers focused on providing health care for women; however, that language is not explicitly included in the proposed legislation.

If the bill passes, the number of patients facing reduced health care access would range from 5% to 25% of Planned Parenthood's 2.6 million patients, the midpoint of which is 390,000 individuals, CBO said.

“The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without access to other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations,” CBO’s report read.

More than half of US counties lack an OB/GYN physician, according to the latest figures collected by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Incidentally, CBO released its report on the same day as the second Republican presidential debate, where Planned Parenthood funding took center stage.

Although general media attention is focused on abortion, Planned Parenthood provides many other health care services that the funding cuts could affect. This includes testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), breast and cervical cancer screenings, and birth control prescriptions.