Taking a short break from their work reducing poor people’s access to healthcare, congressional Republicans announced a plan to reduce poor people’s access to healthcare.
House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Thursday that the budget reconciliation bill currently being drafted to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act will also include language to block Medicaid reimbursements and Title X family planning grants to Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood legislation will be in our reconciliation bill,” Ryan said, as reported by BuzzFeed News.
It feels worth emphasizing again that this is what it means to “defund Planned Parenthood.” There is no general fund set aside in the budget for the reproductive health provider. The funding mechanisms are reimbursements for medical services provided to people on Medicaid who choose Planned Parenthood as their health provider and grants to clinics that participate in the Title X family planning program.
The coming legislation will probably look something like the reconciliation bill the House passed this time last year, almost to the day, that gutted the Affordable Care Act and stripped funding for Planned Parenthood. The difference now is that President Obama’s veto, which killed the measure the last time around, will no longer exist as a wall of protection after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
It’s real this time.
Around the same time last year, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that estimated defunding Planned Parenthood would greatly reduce access to services for up to 630,000 people and result in thousands of unplanned births.
“The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without access to other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations,” the report concluded.
This is the important part. The GOP’s obsession with defunding Planned Parenthood–both in Congress and in states across the country–is often framed in sweeping ideological terms. But in reality, it’s a pretty straightforward story about reducing access to basic healthcare for hundreds of thousands of low-income people and those who lack access to other providers.
But if you’ve been paying attention to House Republicans over the last eight years, that’s already a familiar story.