Representative Mia Love (R., Utah) yesterday pinned down Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards on why her organization objects to losing taxpayer subsidies if those funds are redirected to health centers where women can receive mammograms. The exchange took place during a hearing of the House Oversight & Government Reform committee.
As a series of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress has re-ignited debate over taxpayers’ support for Planned Parenthood, many of the organization’s supporters have argued that withdrawing these funds means millions of women would be deprived of critical breast-cancer screenings. But as Richards conceded in her exchange with Love, Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms.
Love wondered why women — specifically low-income women — wouldn’t be better served if these funds were instead earmarked for clinics that offer such services:
LOVE: “What I’m trying to say is why would it be so offensive if we actually took funding and put it into clinics that actually provide — where those numbers are actually increasing — providing health care exam, providing mammograms that actually have those?”
RICHARDS: “The Medicaid reimbursements if they are going up, if the numbers are going up, that’s because more services are being provided. As you know, many women now because of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, there are more patients on Medicaid that are coming to us for health care. So, that’s — all the reimbursements are directly related to health-care delivery services. That’s exactly — we work — Planned Parenthood is — you were not here earlier, but I’ll tell — Planned Parenthood is just like any other hospital or health care provider that provides services to Medicaid patients.” [crosstalk]
LOVE: “Okay. You’ve also made it very clear that if Planned Parenthood wasn’t around, this would be very difficult for low-income families. So what is the responsibility of hospitals and other clinics that, you know, that you actually — that people can actually go to? I mean, you can’t say that Planned Parenthood is, like, the only place that is available?”
RICHARDS: “No. But obviously it’s a place that 2.7 million patients choose voluntarily to come to every year. And I think what’s important is that in a lot of areas of the country they won’t take more Medicaid patients?”
LOVE: “Choose to go. But what is our job here? It is to provide as many options as possible. So, all I am saying —” [crosstalk]
RICHARDS: “I would agree.”
LOVE: “There’s no reason why we can’t provide those options elsewhere, where people can have their choice as to where they go.”