Letter to the Editor: “Trumpcare” would deny millions access to preventive care

To the Editor:

In the very near future, the Senate will likely vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would also unravel the Medicaid program and bar Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid for one year. As a Family Planning Program Administrator, I am writing to urge Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Charles Grassley to stand on the side of public health and block this dangerous proposal.

This effort, which happened behind closed doors by 13 male Senate Republicans, will devastate access to publicly funded family planning care that an estimated 641 women and men in the most recent year have come to rely on here in Decorah for contraceptive services, cancer screenings, STD services and other preventive care. If this bill were to be enacted, health centers would be forced to scale back services, or even close, and an untold number of our patients would lose access to essential care they need.

Medicaid plays a key role in women’s sexual and reproductive health care and is a cornerstone of the publicly funded family planning, paying for 75% of all family planning care in the U.S. If the new “TrumpCare” health proposal is enacted, Medicaid family planning as we know it would be destroyed, potentially jeopardizing access for 74 million people in the U.S., including 13 million women of reproductive age. In fact, the Senate bill calls for even deeper cuts to this essential safety-net program.

Some in Congress also assert there is a network of other providers available to absorb the additional caseload created by banning federal funds to Planned Parenthood, and that’s simply not true. In many communities across the country, Planned Parenthood is the only available health center that offers a full range of high-quality family planning services.

Many clients continue to seek care at our clinic because they are able to receive quality health care at an affordable price. Many clients appreciate the extra attention we pay to providing them confidential services. What this bill really does is make it harder for women and men to see the providers they know and trust.

When people do not have timely, affordable access to the high-quality family planning care and education they need, they are at greater risk of sexually transmitted disease, unintended pregnancy and certain cancers. It is shameful that Congress would even consider a bill that directly leads to these poor health outcomes. I am counting on Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley to ensure that this bill never sees the light of day.

Lori R. Egan RN, BSN
Health Programs Director
Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation


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