President Donald Trump made good on his campaign pledge to “defund” Planned Parenthood. In an uncharacteristically quiet move, he signed legislation placing the funding of Planned Parenthood on the shoulders of states. CNN reports the usually camera-hungry president signed the law into effect away from his usual party of photographers.
Trump’s signing of the law makes it the state’s responsibility to decide whether they will reimburse Planned Parenthood with funds from Medicaid. According to Planned Parenthood, they receive 40 percent of their funding from Medicaid. They are treated like any other hospital or clinic, when a patient arrives and can’t pay the whole bill, they bill Medicaid for reimbursement of the treatment. The majority of Planned Parenthood’s treatments are preventative health care, birth control aids, and other general health procedures. Contrary to popular myth, none of the Medicaid money is used for elective abortions. The Hyde Amendment, a law in effect since 1976, prevents any federal money from being used for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or to preserve the mother’s life.
What the law didn’t change was the ability of states to pay for the services. States will still be able to fund Planned Parenthood for their services. The question is which ones will continue the funding. A good indicator is the state’s responses to the now infamous videos made by the Center For Medical Progress. Some states, such as Texas, immediately said they would strip Planned Parenthood of funding. However, others, such as California, made no move to make any changes. Under the new Donald Trump law, it will be up to the states to decide.
The financial fate of Planned Parenthood is now in the hands of the states, and they may want to keep funding the organization. According to a study by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, preventative measures could save the country up to $4 billion annually. This is only the savings to the medical industry. It doesn’t count the time saved by employers from absent sick employees, or the added time families will have with healthy members. Without access to dedicated service providers like Planned Parenthood, it is possible women may turn to other modes of healthcare, such as emergency rooms. Emergency room visits are very expensive, and if the woman cannot pay, then the bill will be paid by Medicaid, at a cost much higher than a preventative visit or routine check-up.
Planned Parenthood has a long history of providing services to the poor, people of color, and people without medical insurance. By defunding the program, these people will have less access to family planning programs, treatment for STDs, and other medical procedures. This lack of care could allow a small medical issue to become a major one with a much larger cost, that will be paid by Medicaid or Medicare.
While the majority of Trump’s supporters have always been vehemently opposed to Planned Parenthood, Donald Trump expressed appreciation for the organization while on the campaign trail. Trump is not an advocate of abortion services but, he has praised the organization for their “good work” they do for women. He acknowledged that Planned Parenthood provides necessary services for “millions and millions” of women. However, he always said he would not support their continued funding if they provided abortion services.
The GOP’s attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act was based, partly, on the complaint that it caused insured people’s premiums to go up in price. The GOP failed, and the Affordable Care Act remains in place. Now that Planned Parenthood may lose its funding, it is possible healthcare costs will rise, and private insurance premiums may go up even more.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]