The GOP Better Health Care Reconciliation Act would restrict Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for one year.
The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill estimates that this could result in thousands of unplanned pregnancies. In addition, cuts to Medicaid will mean fewer women will have access to maternity care – currently half of all US births are paid for by Medicaid.
Several Planned Parenthood clinics in the Rocky Mountain region were already slated for closure prior to the release of the health care bill, and advocates say many more clinics around the country could either close or reduce services if efforts to de-fund the organization are successful.
Adrienne Mansanares with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains says that local closures are as a result of consolidation of services.
“The decision was made to consolidate that health center (Longmont) so that our patients are moved over to the Boulder Center. Or Boulder Family Women’s Health Center has just recently opened a beautiful new health center there in Longmont, and so many of our patients were already going to that center. They are our community partners. So when we assessed the need across our four state region, Longmont did have a lot of providers and the patients there were able to receive high quality care without us having to have a center there.”
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains have 29 health centers across 4 states and of those, 6 will be closed and consolidated during the Summer for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is linked to Medicaid reimbursements. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid to tens of thousands of patients in Colorado, however the reimbursement rate of Medicaid has led to financial issues for organizations like Planned Parenthood.
“Medicaid is a very important insurance that low income people have access to across the country and when they use that insurance at Planned Parenthood for a variety of services like breast exams, cancer screening, STI testing, birth control – we can provide those to that low-income patient and then we get reimbursed for that service. And depending on the service and depending on the state, we receive a different level of reimbursement. We are never 100% reimbursed for our costs for that care, so we rely on very generous donors who help us fill in that gap through philanthropy.”
Mansanares says that Planned Parenthood has been totally supportive of the Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act and says that the Republican proposal to gut Medicaid will significantly impact Planned Parenthood patients throughout the country.
The Planned Parenthood clinic in Longmont is scheduled to close by August 18th. In the meantime, the clinic is working with all its patients to ensure a continuity of care either at its Boulder clinic or at other health clinics in Longmont.