Mr. Chair, I rise in strong opposition to the Pence Amendment.
Rep. Pence's amendment would prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds, including Medicaid reimbursement for family planning services, funding for HIV testing and counseling, funding for programs to prevent infertility, breast and cervical cancer screening funds, and funding to provide evidenced-based sex education, including information about abstinence. This amendment would have a devastating impact on communities like Las Vegas.
In my district, Planned Parenthood's Flamingo Health Center is an essential community provider and one of only three Title X facilities in Clark County. In FY 2010, 27 percent of their clients were at or below 100 percent of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and an additional 39 percent were between 100 percent and 250 percent of FPL. Planned Parenthood provides access for many low-income women to basic and preventive healthcare, often serving as a primary care provider. In FY2010, Planned Parenthood provided basic healthcare services to more than 18,000 Nevadans.
Rep. Pence's amendment will result in 1.4 million Medicaid patients--predominately women--losing access to their health care provider. This attack on Medicaid patients' access to their local provider occurs at the same time that the Medicaid program desperately needs more doctors and nurses to participate in the program. Existing access issues will only become exacerbated as a result of the Medicaid expansion to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Federal law already requires health care providers to demonstrate that federal funds are not used for abortion care, so this amendment is a clear attempt to cut funding for cancer screenings and contraception for low-income women at Planned Parenthood health centers. Rep. Pence's amendment has one goal--to undermine women's access to basic, preventive healthcare and the women's health providers they rely on in their communities. I oppose this amendment and efforts to deprive women access to essential healthcare services.