Planned Parenthood Federation of America today expressed concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to nominate U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be secretary of health and human services.
Tom Price poses a grave threat to women’s health in this country. If Price had his way, millions of women could be cut off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services like birth control, cancer screenings and STD tests. From his plan to take no-copay birth control away from 55 million women and allow insurance companies to charge women more for the same health coverage, to his opposition to safe and legal abortion, Price could take women back decades.
Tom Price has consistently demonstrated that he’s out of touch with women’s lives. Despite the fact that 20.2 million women need publicly funded contraception, he has falsely stated that every single woman in America already has access to affordable birth control.
Our nation’s HHS Secretary should aim to break down barriers to health care. Instead, Tom Price wants to build more. These barriers to care have a disproportionate impact on those who already face inequities and barriers in the health care system – including people of color, people who live in rural areas, people with low incomes, and immigrant communities.
Fear of a Health and Human Services Secretary like Tom Price is why Planned Parenthood has seen a significant increase in in online appointments for birth control, with a more than ten-fold increase in people seeking IUDs the first week following the election. People are worried they will lose their health care.
The Senate should give Representative Price’s record the full examination it deserves. Each Senator must decide whether a man who wants take away no co-pay birth control coverage from 55 million women is the right choice to serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, we at Planned Parenthood will continue to work to ensure that everyone — including the 2.5 million patients we serve each year — has access to the basic health care they depend on, no matter what.
Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Price believes “there’s not one woman” who doesn’t have access to birth control.
- A Hart Research poll found that one in three women voters have struggled to afford prescription birth control, including 55 percent of young women aged 18 to 34.
- According to the Guttmacher Institute, 20.2 million women in the U.S. were in need of publicly funded family planning services like birth control in 2014, an increase of 1 million since 2010.
Price wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and has supported 65 attempts to repeal it, which means:
- 55 million women would lose access to no-copay preventive services, including birth control, STI screenings, and life-saving preventive services such as breast cancer screenings and pap tests.
- Being a woman could once again be considered a pre-existing condition, allowing health insurers to deny health coverage to tens of millions of women.
- Women would pay an estimated $1 billion more than men for the same health care plans if “gender rating” was allowed again.
- Millions of low-income women would lose their health insurance, which they have gained through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. In 2015, Medicaid covered 17% of women ages 19-64 (16.66 million), up from 10% in 2008 (pre-ACA).
Price wants to cut off women’s access to basic health services at Planned Parenthood, which has already been proven to have devastating consequences:
- 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.
- Blocking patients from care at health centers has a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care. For example, in Texas, researchers found that more than half of women reported at least one barrier to reproductive health care. Spanish-speaking women from Mexico were more likely to report three or more barriers.
- In Wisconsin and Texas, researchers found that fewer women could access lifesaving cancer screenings following the closure of Planned Parenthood health centers. An increase in 100 miles from the nearest health center resulted in a 6 percent decrease in the rate women obtained breast exams, and 9 percent decrease in Pap tests.
- The CBO projects that the net cost to taxpayers if Planned Parenthood is defunded would be $130 million over 10 years because of an increase in unintended pregnancies without the high-quality contraceptive care we provide.
Despite Price’s repeated statements that “patients, families and doctors should be making health decisions, not Washington DC,” he would interfere with women’s access to safe and legal abortion. In Congress, he has routinely voted in favor of dangerous bills that would:
- Restrict abortion access;
- Block access to basic preventive care at Planned Parenthood;
- Interfere in the doctor-patient relationship;
- Prevent medical students from being trained on how to provide abortion;
- Block insurance coverage of abortion;
- Allow bosses to take away birth control.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is many things to many people. We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to millions of women, men, and young people.