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Senate Moves to Imperil Health Care for Millions

Senate Moves to Imperil Health Care for Millions

Today, the Senate voted to move forward with an effort to pass Trumpcare, which would repeal Obamacare and "defund" Planned Parenthood. The move came despite millions of people across the country expressing opposition and outrage at the various pieces of legislation that have been proposed - which would all leave tens of millions uninsured, charge women more for less insurance coverage and prevent millions of people with Medicaid coverage from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers for basic, preventive care. Vice President Mike Pence, who authored the original legislation to "defund" Planned Parenthood as a Congressman, had to cast the tie-breaking vote on the worst bill for women's health in a generation.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

"In all of its various forms, this bill is the worst bill for women in a generation. From ending maternity coverage and the birth control benefit for millions to blocking women's access to preventive care at Planned Parenthood, every version of Trumpcare has been devastating to women. And at every step of the process, this legislation has only gotten worse as Republican leaders have chipped away at women's health and rights. The Senate must reject Trumpcare, or they will be responsible for putting millions of people's lives at risk. No amount of D.C. wheeling and dealing will change the fact that Trumpcare would leave tens of millions of people stranded without the essential health care they and their families depend on today.

"Make no mistake: This fight is far from over. This Senate bill is on life support because of its deep unpopularity and because of the incredible power of the American people speaking out. Planned Parenthood supporters across the country will keep fighting this bill at every step, at every twist and at every turn. One voice may be easy to dismiss, but together our voices are too loud to ignore. Now - more than ever - is the moment to speak out, call your Senators and demand they vote NO on the final bill. Congress must listen to the vast majority of people in this country and reject Trumpcare."

FACT: No matter what version of Trumpcare the Senate votes on, it's still the worst bill for women's health.

FACT: A powerful editorial in The Washington Post underscores the devastating impact of blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood: "Of all the magical thinking that has gone into Republican proposals to replace Obamacare, none has been more fanciful than the argument accompanying efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.... In truth, millions of women would lose access to critical health care."

FACT: Mitch McConnell's $200 billion Medicaid deal is little more than a partisan, political side deal that falls short of helping those who would be hurt by Trumpcare.

FACT: The Parliamentarian has ruled that the provision to "defund" Planned Parenthood violates the Byrd Rule and should not be included in the Senate health care repeal bill, or any bill passed through the reconciliation process. Relatedly, the Parliamentarian also determined that abortion restrictions for tax credits also violate the Byrd Rule. This is not surprising news, given that both policies are very clearly motivated by a political agenda and are not primarily budgetary in nature. Targeting Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood provides abortion is an obvious violation of the Byrd Rule because the provision's primary intent is clearly political, and the budgetary impact is "merely incidental" to that purpose. No amount of legislative sleight of hand will change the fact that the primary motivation here is to pursue a social agenda by targeting Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood provides the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion.

There's simply no way to rewrite the defund Planned Parenthood provision to get around the fact that it's rooted in advancing a politically motivated agenda attacking reproductive health. For this reason, it is important to remember that historically, abortion policy hasn't been allowed on reconciliation bills because it is political in nature. As former Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove said in an NPR interview regarding abortion policy, "It was my view that the provision was not there in order to save money. It was there to implement social policy. Therefore I ruled that it was not in order and it was stricken."

Policy focused on advancing a social agenda (for example, targeting access to Planned Parenthood, birth control or abortion) - no matter how it is written - is always going to violate Byrd, because the intent is clearly political, and not about the budget.

FACT: Planned Parenthood grassroots organizing has been a driving force in opposing Trumpcare and efforts to "defund" Planned Parenthood. For months, an army of pink-clad Planned Parenthood patients, supporters and advocates have taken thousands of actions from coast to coast including attending protest rallies, speaking out at congressional town halls, calling their members of Congress, delivering petitions to congressional offices and hosting field hearings.

Over the past several months, Planned Parenthood supporters have:

FACT: A bipartisan majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood and oppose "defunding."

FACT: The Planned Parenthood provision is still a no-go for key Republican senators.

Posted on July 25, 2017 in News.
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