The newest Republican Party healthcare bill could potentially be harmful to services provided by Planned Parenthood. This bill is the GOP’s third—and arguably last—attempt at creating its own healthcare system to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The Graham-Cassidy bill was created by Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The main objective of the bill is to let states determine their own healthcare services. Federal aid would be given to each state in the form of a block grant to use on whatever healthcare plan each state would prefer, according to USA Today.
“[The bill] will make health care more accessible to you,” Graham said in an interview with Fox News. “If you don’t like what’s going on, you complain to your governor or your statehouse guy, rather than a bureaucrat in Washington.”
As with all ACA replacement proposals, this raises questions for the future of Planned Parenthood. At present, it is illegal for the federal government to pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood currently does not receive any direct source of federal aid from the government for its other services, according to the Planned Parenthood website.
Most of the funding for Planned Parenthood comes from Medicaid reimbursements. This process parallels how any insurance company refunds its clients. Planned Parenthood must submit a claim to Medicaid for the services it has administered and then the funds are reimbursed, according to its website.
The Graham-Cassidy bill would change the government’s influence on Planned Parenthood by ending the funding and reimbursement of its services for one year, according to USA Today. The bill would provide money for community health centers to supplement the lost coverage. This could drastically alter the services the organization offers and inevitably affect many women throughout the United States.
Without the direct reimbursement of funds to Planned Parenthood, many people will be affected negatively––Planned Parenthood currently provides health services to 2.4 million people every year, according to its website. Planned Parenthood services range from abortions, referrals and contraception to general health care, patient education, STD testing and vaccines.
The fate of Planned Parenthood rides on whether Graham-Cassidy passes. Republicans can pass the bill on their own—without help from Democrats—if they get 51 votes in favor, according to CNN. Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. John McCain have already stated they will vote against the new healthcare plan, according to CNBC. If every other Republican Senator votes yes, however, Graham-Cassidy has a chance of passing.
The life expectancy of the bill remains in the hands of the Republican senators. If they choose to stick with the leanings of their party, it will allow this rumored last attempt at a GOP healthcare plan to pass. The legislators have until Saturday Sept. 30 to vote on the bill.