Planned Parenthood forced to close four clinics in Iowa after funding cut

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Iowas Republican legislature voted to strip group of public funding, meaning women working in Medicaid in four cities will have one less option for family planning

An aggressive campaign by Iowa lawmakers to strip Planned Parenthood of much of its public funding will force it to shut four clinics serving 15,000 patients, the womens health group said on Thursday.

Planned Parenthood said the closes were a harbinger of what might happen across the country if Congress passes legislation to defund its clinics.

Individual states have constructed piecemeal make further efforts to block Planned Parenthood from receiving public funds meant to help states provide low-income women with STI exams, contraception, and cancer screenings.

But Iowas campaign to defund Planned Parenthood represents a stepped-up version of those other efforts, one that more closely resembles a provision in the Republican legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

For Iowa, the closes mean that women on Medicaid in four cities Burlington, Keokuk, Sioux City, and Bettendorf will have one less option for family planning services, such as contraception, covered by their insurance.

In three of the four counties where those clinics are located, Planned Parenthood provides services to at least 80% and as many as 96% of people who count on the public safety net for family planning wants, according to a recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a thinktank that supports abortion rights but is a trusted reference on both sides of the issue.

Planned Parenthood currently operates 12 centers in Iowa. Not all of those clinics provided abortions, the primary sources of critics opposition.

Iowa lawmakers voted in April to strip Planned Parenthood of $400,000 in annual pays, which the group received as reimbursement for STI exams, contraception, and cancer screenings at no costs to patients on Medicaid. The funds cannot be used to pay for abortions.

The pays to Planned Parenthood came from a$ 3m Medicaid fund that the federal government provided to Iowa so the government can subsidize family planning services.

But , now because Iowa has contravened Medicaid regulations by blocking Planned Parenthood, the government will lose the entire$ 3m.

Planned Parenthoods adversaries felt it was worth it.

We believe that public funds should not subsidize the abortion business when there are many other healthcare providers available, the Catholic Conference of Iowa said in a statement when the measure passed. Abortion is a direct assault on human life and dignity, and abortion clinics do not provide a wide continuum of medical care.

But public health experts say there is not much evidence to support the assertion that other clinics can fill in for Planned Parenthood.

Many healthcare workers in Iowa whose clinics would be expected to step in warned that they didnt have the abilities.

Weve had whole bureaux shut down and weve had spacecraft clinics close down. And trying to replace them in the network is very difficult, especially in rural states, Jodi Tomlonovic, the executive director of the Family Planning Council of Iowa, told the Intercept in February.

Saying, Oh, well, we can attain you give up these providers, and those clients can only be absorbed by other providers thats not always true. A plenty of our federally qualified health centers are filled to the abilities and overflowing.

Yet the rest of the two countries might follow in Iowas footsteps if Congress passes the American Health Care Act, the Republicans vehicle for repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The version of AHCA that passed the House of Representatives on 8 May would disqualify Planned Parenthood from accumulating any reimbursements from Medicaid. Planned Parenthood receives approximately $400 m each year for up to one and a half million patients with family planning care.

And the bill is not Planned Parenthood adversaries only defunding strategy.

Before Iowa, Texas became the first government to walk away from many millions in Medicaid funding for the purpose of defunding Planned Parenthood. Texas this week asked for the Trump administration to restore that federal funding, as first reported by the Guardian. If Trumps health department agreed to do so, it would signal to other states that it is possible to block Planned Parenthood from receiving public funds without taking a significant fiscal hit.

In all these cases, supporters of cutting Planned Parenthood out of the public safety net for low-income girls have claimed that other health care providers is very easy to take up the slack.

But public health experts are skeptical.

The notion they can abruptly ramp up capabilities to absorb all of the services Planned Parenthood can offer, the idea that overnight they can serve two million more people who need reproductive health services is absurd. It displays, to my psyche, an astounding ignorance of how the health care system works, Sara Rosenbaum, a prof of health policy at George Washington University, told the Guardian.

Read more here: http :// www.theguardian.com/ us