TOP FIVE WAYS THE RYAN BUDGET SACRIFICES WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE ACCESS
1. Slash Medicaid, a Lifeline for Families Across the Country
Right now 60 million Americans, including 21 million low-income women, rely on Medicaid for basic health care. For women, Medicaid means the difference between getting cancer screenings and birth control or going without. In fact, one in ten women of reproductive age relies on Medicaid for her health care needs. But Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other Republicans want to take away this essential coverage from millions of people.
Currently, Medicaid protects women’s access to family planning by ensuring coverage and giving women the ability to choose their own health care provider. The Ryan Republican plan would fundamentally change the program, and many women would lose access to these important benefits. Fifty percent of Planned Parenthood health center visits are paid for by Medicaid to access lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, well woman exams, and birth control. For our patients and for all women and families, we are fighting back.
2. Prevent access to birth control and cancer screenings by trying to prohibit Planned Parenthood from participating in public health programs
“Planned Parenthood. We’re going to get rid of that.” On March 13, in his own words, Mitt Romney plainly stated he wants to take birth control and cancer screenings away from millions of women. This far right position has been echoed by other opponents of women’s health who would also bar Planned Parenthood from participating in federal programs like Medicaid. They would rather deny preventive health care, including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment, than allow Planned Parenthood to receive federal funding.
3. Eliminate the Title X Family Planning Program
Title X is America’s leading family planning program, providing access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD screenings, and other health care services to over five million low-income women and men each year in more than 4,500 health centers. In every state, women and men rely on Title X for basic primary and preventive health care. Planned Parenthood is a proud partner of the Title X program, providing care to 1.7 million people — one-third of Title X’s patients. But Congressman (and Senate candidate) Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Mitt Romney, and other extreme candidates want to eliminate Title X family planning, arguing that it will reduce the national deficit. Setting aside the fact that Title X represents about 0.01 percent of the budget, opponents have a bigger problem with this push — it won’t actually reduce the deficit at all. For every dollar invested in family planning programs, the government saves $3.74. This is an ideological agenda wrapped in bad policy.
4. Repeal the Affordable Care Act
Romney, along with Ryan, wants to repeal the groundbreaking health care reform law, which was the single biggest advancement in women’s health in a generation. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance coverage for preventive services like mammograms, cancer screenings, and birth control, with no co-pays. Unfortunately, Romney wants to go back to the days when insurance companies discriminated against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage based on “pre-existing conditions” that could include breast cancer or even pregnancy. The ACA protects women from these bad practices, guarantees women’s access to ob/gyns, and expands coverage for 2.5 million young adults by allowing them to stay on their parents’ health plan until age 26, and that’s just the beginning.
5. Undermine women’s access to abortion
Out-of-touch politicians continue their relentless efforts to undermine women’s access to abortion. They have filed bill after bill designed to prevent women from accessing comprehensive care. One such way is by working to ban insurance coverage of abortion in the new health insurance exchanges under the ACA. This means that women who buy an insurance plan through the exchange may not have abortion covered as a health care service, even though most insurance companies cover abortion as part of their health plan.