As Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which represents Nevada, prepares for its annual Corks and Forks gala in Las Vegas, the national organization is fighting for its life.
If Congress passes a new health care bill, Planned Parenthood will no longer be eligible for Medicaid funding.
The health provider serves almost 20,000 patients in Las Vegas and Reno, and about 5 percent of them are on Medicaid. Most of the health center's patients come for birth control and preventive care.
“We’re concerned about the ability of women and families in the state of Nevada to be able to go to the health provider of their choice because many of them choose Planned Parenthood,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Richards said there has been a surge in donations to the organization but private donations can never make up for the millions that would be lost if federal funding went away.
“There is simply no way that private donations, as wonderful as they are, and as grateful as we are for the outpouring of support that we’ve seen, there is no way that private donations could make up for the millions of people who would lose health care coverage and who couldn’t come to Planned Parenthood anymore,” she said.
Richards said people in Nevada should ask their representatives in Washington, D.C. what women are going to do for health care if they can no longer access Planned Parenthood.
Richards said beyond the impact the bill could have on Planned Parenthood she is also worried about its impact on women's health care in general.
“This bill that they’re trying to jam through Congress is one of the worst bills for women’s health care that we have ever seen,” she said.
Under the bill being debated on Capitol Hill now, essential health benefits would be eliminated. Those benefits require health care plans to cover ten specific things, including maternity care and preventive care like mammograms.
Those who want them eliminated explain that it is unfair for men to pay for things like mammograms or annual gynecological exams, but those supporting the idea say requiring essential services to be covered spreads the risk of all medical conditions around the entire population, lowering the cost for everyone.
Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
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