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CBO: GOP repeal bill would cause “thousands” of unintended pregnancies


The Congressional Budget Office’s forecast that 24 million would lose coverage under the GOP health plan got a lot of attention on Monday.

But on Tuesday, Janet Adamy at the Wall Street Journal flagged another important projection that went under the radar. CBO estimated that the GOP plan would cause “thousands” more unintended pregnancies by defunding Planned Parenthood.

The Republican health care plan, as my colleague Emily Crockett explains, would bar Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in the Medicaid program. CBO expects that change would make it more difficult for women who are low-income or in rural areas to access care. Here’s what the report actually says:

The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations. CBO projects that about 15 percent of those people would lose access to care.

This isn’t the first time CBO has weighed in on defunding Planned Parenthood. In late 2015, the agency estimated that 630,000 women would lose access to care should Congress cut off funding to the clinics. Planned Parenthood estimates it serves 2.6 million patients annually.

Planned Parenthood is undeniably a huge provider of birth control, preventive screenings, and other services for low-income women. Researchers at the Guttmacher Institute estimate that in 103 of the 491 counties that Planned Parenthood serves, it is the only safety-net family planning clinic.

It's places like this where CBO expects Planned Parenthood's loss of federal funds to have the most severe impact — and to leave patients little options to seek similar care elsewhere.

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