February 18, 2016


Wisconsin Just Blew a Big Hole in Planned Parenthood's Funding : It will cost the health care provider $8 million per year. (Becca Andrews | Thu Feb. 18, 2016, Mother Jones)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker went to a crisis pregnancy center in Waukesha to sign two bills that will cut Planned Parenthood's funding in the state.

"Certainly, over the past year there's been a lot of controversy nationally about Planned Parenthood," Walker said before signing the legislation. "For those of us who are pro-life, this is important...taxpayer dollars at the federal and state level should not be spent...particularly when there are noncontroversial alternatives."

The first measure concerns prescription drugs. It restricts the amount Planned Parenthood gets back in Medicaid reimbursements for birth control prescriptions by requiring the health care organization to charge the actual acquisition cost of the birth control and the standard dispensing fee when billing Medicaid for reimbursement. This practice is estimated to cost Planned Parenthood $4.5 million annually. Other family planning clinics will still be able to acquire birth control at a discounted price through Medicaid's 340B program. The bill singles out Planned Parenthood by referring to "a covered entity that is an abortion provider." Of the 22 Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, only three perform abortions. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Wisconsin serve more than 60,000 patients annually.

Assembly Bill 310, also signed by Walker today, was approved by the state Senate last month. It prevents the state from relaying federal money from the Title X grant program to any group that either provides abortions or is affiliated with an abortion provider. Title X money is used for family planning and health screening for the poor and the uninsured--it cannot be used for abortions, according to federal law. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin receives about $3.5 million from Title X each year, and 61 percent of Planned Parenthood patients in Wisconsin live below the poverty line, according to the group's 2014 annual report.

During the signing ceremony, Walker repeated a point often made by abortion opponents in their push to defund Planned Parenthood, saying that community health care clinics can replace Planned Parenthood in providing services, especially to low-income women.

Posted by at February 18, 2016 6:35 PM