Sorry, Ted Cruz: Defunding Planned Parenthood would actually increase government spending

CBO report warns Republicans' budget-busting defunding plan would cost $130 million by shifting burden to Medicaid

By Sophia Tesfaye
September 23, 2015 10:35PM (UTC)
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(AP/Nati Harnik)

If congressional Republicans like Ted Cruz get their way and manage to defund Planned Parenthood federally, they'd be doing so at a cost of $130 million over 10 years, according to new report from the Congressional Budget Office.

The savings of $520 million over ten years the federal government would see as a result of cutting off funding to the women's health organization is dwarfed by the $650 million in government spending needed to supplant the disrupted services, including those addressing unwanted pregnancies. Planned Parenthood says 80 percent of its clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy. According to the CBO, without access to crucial reproductive health services from Planned Parenthood, many low-income women and their children will be forced on to Medicaid.


"The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without access to other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations," the CBO letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy reads.

The CBO scored Republicans' Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 for the 10-year period from 2016 through 2025. The bill would permanently prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and was introduced amidst conservative backlash to a series of selectively edited undercover videos appearing to show executives from the organization discussing the process of fetal tissue donation.

The CBO reported that Planned Parenthood receives about $450 million a year in federal funding, accounting for about one-third of its annual budget and reports that "as much as 25 percent of the estimated 2.6 million clients served by Planned Parenthood would face reduced access to care" if the Republicans were to block federal funding to the health organization.


That accounts for up to 650,000 women who would be cut off from access to health care under the Republican plan. Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Utah and New Hampshire have moved against federal warnings to defund the women's health clinic as Republicans on Capitol Hill have forced a short-term spending bill that strips Planned Parenthood of any access to federal funds. The bill, up for a vote on Thursday, will likely be blocked by Democrats, setting up Republicans for a government shutdown threat over an opportunity to increase spending.

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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