On March 6, 2017, Republicans in Washington, D.C., unveiled their long-anticipated response to Obamacare—the American Health Care Act. The newly proposed national health care plan will cut Medicaid funding to institutions that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood.
Not only will the America Health Care Act cut funding to abortion-providers, it will also put a stumbling block in front of insurance companies to provide coverage for abortions. According to New York Magazine, under the proposed bill “tax credits wouldn’t be allowed for health plans that cover abortion (except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother).” The long story short is that without tax credits, an insurance plan that covers abortions is going to be very expensive.
To be clear, even under Obamacare (the Affordable Health Act), abortions were not being paid for with federal money. This is due to the Hyde Amendment, which prevented Medicaid from being used toward abortions. Women could still use their Medicaid to pay for Planned Parenthood’s other services, including breast and cervical cancer screening, STD testing and birth control. Under the GOP’s new health care system, however, Medicaid cannot be used for any of Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services.
According to the New York Times, President Trump offered to allow Planned Parenthood to keep the funding it receives from the government—around $500 million annually—if the organization agreed to stop performing abortions. Planned Parenthood turned the President down. Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, told reporters “offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept.” According to Vox, federal funding accounts for nearly 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget.
The new healthcare bill is going to affect low-income women the most, which why there is such pushback from the other side of the GOP aisle. A lot of lawmakers—even some Republicans—are concerned these women on Medicaid may not receive the non-abortive-reproductive health care they need.
President Trump said he is committed to helping women receive the health care they need (a sentiment he routinely touted while campaigning), but explains that the line should be drawn at federally-funded abortions. “Polling shows the majority of Americans oppose public funding for abortion, even those who identify as pro-choice. There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services,” President Trump said.