One of our members, Planned Parenthood, has been in the news constantly lately. Currently under siege by the government, Planned Parenthood is facing a potential devastating loss of funding.
At Junto Health, we recognize the impact that the loss of Planned Parenthood would have on health technology innovation. A goal of Planned Parenthood is to provide up-to-date, clear information to give women and men the tools they need to protect their health. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood in Texas was associated with a 35% decline in women in publicly funded programs using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% increase in births among women who had previously accessed injectable contraception through those programs.
With Planned Parenthood addressing 85% of well woman needs, individuals who would otherwise not have access to the latest technology such as birth control and period tracker apps and new and advanced birth control implantations. The 75% of Planned Parenthood patients that have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) should not be left without access to well woman care. The defunding of Planned Parenthood would cause this to occur.
Planned Parenthood provides a unique opportunity for new technology to reach a variety of demographics and individuals in all walks of life. It is our strong belief that advancements in health technology should not be limited just to the wealthy, but should be accessible to everyone.
The National Director of Planned Parenthood, Tanya Harris, took some time out of her busy schedule to provide us with some further details about the impact that Planned Parenthood has on healthcare.
Junto Health (JH): Where does most of Planned Parenthood’s funding come from?
Tanya Harris (TH): Just like hospitals and other providers, Planned Parenthood receives Medicaid reimbursement for the preventive care they provide, including birth control and cancer screenings. Since federal funds cannot go towards abortion, Planned Parenthood does not receive Medicaid reimbursement for abortion. The term defunding Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. This legislation instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
JH: What is Planned Parenthood’s greatest concern with potential changes to the ACA?
TH: In the only non-ACA provision of the bill, the House GOP proposed to specifically block people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. Of all of the Medicaid providers and hospitals that provide reproductive care -- including abortion -- the White House is singling out Planned Parenthood and threatening the care of their patients.
Their proposal would dictate to women what care they can receive, and where they can go for care. The bill would also significantly restructure and slash funding for the Medicaid program, which low-income women and people of color disproportionately rely on for health care.
JH: We know that Planned Parenthood is an important safety net when it comes to providing individuals with low-economic statuses healthcare. How do you think the overall healthcare system should be improved to provide greater coverage to everyone?
TH: Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for care. When lawmakers in Louisiana, Ohio, and Florida tried to block access to Planned Parenthood in the past, they suggested women could go to alternative providers for reproductive health care, including dentists, food banks, nursing homes, ENTs, elementary schools, rehabs, and retirement homes.
Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other quality health care providers. This disproportionately impacts people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, young people, and members of the LGBTQ community -- with those whose identities overlap facing multiple barriers.
If you wish to stand with Planned Parenthood and let Congress know that you do not support defunding measures sign-up here.