By Sarah Ferris - 09/16/15 01:21 PM EDT
Cutting off Planned Parenthood’s funding would result in a net savings of $235 million over a decade, while also resulting in “several thousand” unplanned births that would drive up government costs elsewhere, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.
A bill to freeze the provider’s funding would save $390 million in Medicaid spending over the next year, according to a report from the nonpartisan office. But it would also cost Medicaid about $60 million more because of the additional pregnancies by women who no longer receive birth control.
If the health provider can’t find other funding streams, the costs to Medicaid could remain nearly the same because patients would seek other providers that also accept Medicaid dollars. If the funding is replaced, Medicaid would likely see a major drop in spending, because patients could continue to go to Planned Parenthood — but without a cost to Medicaid.
While federal funding is only one-third of Planned Parenthood's annual budget, the legislation could affect millions of its patients.
CBO warned that 15 percent of patients would lose access to care. The people most likely to be affected are those living in areas without other healthcare clinics that cater to low-income populations — most of Planned Parenthood’s current clientele.
More women are likely to become pregnant without access to Planned Parenthood’s family planning services. Because 45 percent of all births are paid for by Medicaid, the program’s costs would rise.
The bill, authored by Rep. Diane BlackDiane BlackHouse approves bill to shield anti-abortion healthcare workers Conscience rights under threat in US HHS chief meets with House Republicans on abortion dispute MORE (R-Tenn.), would cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year, allowing for investigations into the group’s controversial fetal tissue program.
Black and other Republicans have argued that money saved from Planned Parenthood could be redirected to other women’s healthcare organizations, though it is not written into the bill. They have specifically pointed to the 1,300 federally funded community health centers, which offer primary care across the country.
The report shows that available alternatives to Planned Parenthood vary widely: Between 5 and 25 percent of Planned Parenthood’s estimated 2.6 million clients would see “reduced access to care,” depending on where they live.