In the wake of a damning report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the U.S. House of Representatives moved forward with a Republican health care bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and gut Planned Parenthood of its federal funding.
Specifically, the bill would bar patients from using Medicaid at Planned Parenthood to receive contraceptives, cervical and breast cancer screenings and tests and treatments for sexually-transmitted infections including HIV. American women already can not use federal funds to pay for abortions under the Hyde Amendment of 1976.
The bill narrowly passed the House Budget Committee with a vote of 19-17 on Thursday. The next step is for the bill to be voted on by the House Rules Committee. The vote came just three days after a report by CBO, a nonpartisan analysis office for the U.S. Congress, found that 24 million fewer Americans would be insured by 2026 under the GOP health care plan.
Planned Parenthood is not taking the bill lying down.
“The fact is, one in five women in America has relied on Planned Parenthood, and their health care shouldn’t get caught up in Republican leadership’s’ extreme agenda,” Dana E. Singiser, the vice president for public policy and government affairs at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement Thursday. “There’s a reason so many members of Congress have faced angry town halls back at home: The American people do not want to see their health care taken away.”
The passage of the bill specifically targeting abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood is the only part of the bill that deviates from tackling the Affordable Care Act directly.
It should go without saying that having 24 million less people insured would be disastrous for the country. Access to affordable health care should be considered a basic human right. No one should be dying from easily preventable diseases, and the situation is especially mind-boggling in a developed, industrialized country such as the United States that clearly has the resources to treat its people.
The pointed attack of Planned Parenthood by GOP lawmakers is equally egregious. For many Americans, Planned Parenthood may be the only way to access reproductive health services. In addition to its affordability for low-income patients, 54 percent of Planned Parenthoods are in areas where there is a shortage of health care professionals, namely in rural areas. Additionally, Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care and information to nearly 5 million women, men and teens annually.
Why do Republican congresspeople seem to be on a mission to strip their constituents of life-saving health care? If politicians truly cared about the health and well-being of American women and men, then they would leave the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood alone.