Congress wonders: Can the nation survive without Planned Parenthood?
posted at 5:31 pm on August 1, 2015 by Ed Morrissey
Perhaps we’d muddle through as a republic if the federal government stopped using Planned Parenthood as a contractor, but not everyone in Congress is convinced. As the Senate moves to debate whether to end federal subsidies for the abortion industry leader, Susan Collins wonders where women will go to get “women’s health services”:
Republicans have seized on a series of controversial undercover videos that show officials at the abortion rights organization discussing the price of fetal tissue to argue that all federal funding should be cut off from Planned Parenthood.
But even members of McConnell’s party have their doubts that community health centers and other public health groups could fill the gap.
“The problem is, in my state and many others, Planned Parenthood is the primary provider of women’s health services in certain parts of my state,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said she is likely to vote against the bill. “So I don’t know how you would ensure that all of the patients of Planned Parenthood could be absorbed by alternative care providers.”
The Hill also mentions a study from George Washington University that raised the same question three years ago, when Republicans pushed to defund Planned Parenthood:
A 2012 study by George Washington University professors examined five counties in Texas and found that Planned Parenthood was the “dominant” provider in those areas. The study found that other clinics would need to increase their capacity by “two- to five-fold” in order to handle Planned Parenthood’s patients, but were already at or close to capacity.
Consider this another version of static tax analysis, with a heaping helping of ignoring the obvious. The federal government spends over $280 million on Title X family planning services alone each year, plus the broader range of health care for the poor that comes through Medicaid, which ranks in the billions. Those funds won’t disappear; the only change in the upcoming Senate bill will be to exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving those funds. The government will still spend the money.
When markets have demand and resources to meet it, then suppliers will emerge. In fact, it may be that federal support and subsidies for Planned Parenthood has had the effect of squeezing smaller providers out the markets where they dominate. Furthermore, the passage of ObamaCare was supposed to offer even broader choices by forcing everyone either into a comprehensive insurance plan or onto Medicaid. Women, especially poorer women, shouldn’t have only an abortion mill for their health care, and the government shouldn’t subsidize them and crowd out other potential providers.
The GAO calls shenanigans on this argument even from a static perspective:
According to the Government Accountability Office, the roughly 1,200 community health centers in the U.S. serve over 21 million people per year. Planned Parenthood, by contrast, serves 2.7 million people.
“These are comprehensive health care centers, something that Planned Parenthood is not,” said Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for Susan B. Anthony List.
Having access to hundreds of millions more in government contracts with the absence of Planned Parenthood on the contractor list will have other centers looking to fill the gap. The demand to provide subsidies for Planned Parenthood is another form of corporate welfare, only for abortionists in order to render their other operations more economically viable.
No corporation has an entitlement to federal subsidies. This particular organization’s business practices make it unfit for taxpayer support. Let them survive on their own resources, and focus public support to those who truly focus on health rather than the destruction of human life.