That Vow To Defund Planned Parenthood: Easy To Say, Hard To Do January 15, 2017 6:00 AM ET


House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President-elect Mike Pence plan to include defunding of Planned Parenthood in a budget reconciliation bill intended to also defund the Affordable Care Act. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President-elect Mike Pence plan to include defunding of Planned Parenthood in a budget reconciliation bill intended to also defund the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

If repealing the Affordable Care Act is the Republican Congress’ job one, defunding Planned Parenthood is a close second.

In fact, the two priorities might be paired. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Jan. 5 that efforts to defund the organization “would be in our reconciliation bill,” referring to a measure Congress has put on a fast track in order to repeal major pieces of the health law.

But just as Republicans are discovering that undoing the health law could be complicated, so too is separating the controversial reproductive health care provider from its federal funding. Efforts to hastily jettison Planned Parenthood from federal ledgers could actually jeopardize GOP efforts to repeal the health law.

One problem is that Planned Parenthood gets its funding from several different government sources. According to the group’s most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood affiliates got $553.7 million from federal, state, and local governments, accounting for almost half of its total funding.

According to the organization, about 75 percent of that government support comes from the Medicaid program to pay for direct medical services provided to low-income patients, including contraception, cancer screenings and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment. The remaining quarter comes from other sources, primarily the Title X federal family planning program. The Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that the group gets approximately $390 million annually from Medicaid and $60 million from Title X.

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