WASHINGTON (AP) – A Republican bill that would halt federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year could reduce health care access for about 390,000 people while saving taxpayers about $235 million, Congress’ official authority on the budget said Wednesday.
The estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office comes as Republicans are pushing for the cut in the wake of videos that show Planned Parenthood representatives discussing how the group provides fetal tissue for research.
The House plans a vote this week on legislation that would block Planned Parenthood’s federal money for a year. Lawmakers could approve an amendment shifting the money to other women’s health care providers. If approved, the savings would be expected to disappear and the number of people with diminished access to health care could well be lower than the budget office’s figures.
The CBO called its estimates “highly uncertain” because it is hard to project whether Planned Parenthood could replace the federal money with other funds and where the group’s patients would go for health care. The office said its projected $235 million in savings was at the center of a range of estimates it prepared.
It also said the number of people facing reduced health care access would be from 5 percent to 25 percent of Planned Parenthood’s 2.6 million patients, or from 130,000 to 650,000 people. The midpoint of that range was 390,000.
The budget office estimated that Planned Parenthood receives about $450 million annually in federal funds, including $390 million in reimbursements from the Medicaid program for low-income people.
Most of the rest is federal family planned money for contraceptive counseling, pregnancy testing and other services. Federal money can only be used for abortion in rare circumstances.
About one-third of Planned Parenthood’s annual $1.3 billion budget comes from taxpayers. The rest is from private sources and revenue it generates from its services.
Democrats have blocked a Senate GOP bill halting payments to Planned Parenthood. President Barack Obama would be all but certain to veto such legislation if it reached him.