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Current Events: U.S./How does the federal government fund Planned Parenthood?


I've read that Planned Parenthood generally receives about half a billion dollars in government funding each year, and that most of this has come from Medicaid. Without getting into any of the polarized views surrounding this organization, what I'd like to know is simply how Medicaid goes about channeling money into Planned Parenthood.

Given that Medicaid is essentially an insurance program, my initial assumption would be that it doesn't write a big check at the beginning of the year, or even smaller checks scattered throughout the year, to cover a predetermined amount of funding that will go to Planned Parenthood, but rather, I'm guessing, that Medicaid simply covers patient expenses for many of Planned Parenthood's services. Is that right? And if so, would it really be accurate to say that Medicaid "funds" Planned Parenthood, as opposed to simply including Planned Parenthood services in its coverage?

The federal government gives planned parenthood about 500 million dollars a year to fund a number of programs. Those public funds come from two programs: Medicaid, the health care program targeted at lower-income Americans, and Title X, a federal family planning program that likewise primarily serves lower-income Americans. The overwhelming majority of federal funding to Planned Parenthood comes from Medicaid 75 percent.

Not all of the public funds Planned Parenthood receives are federal spending, however. While Title X is a federal program, Medicaid operates using federal and state funds. About 12% of planned parenthood money goes to abortions.

The 1977 Hyde Amendment dictated that federal Medicaid funds could only be used to fund abortions in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. However, some states have expanded cases in which they will provide funds. Currently, 17 states allow funds to be used for "medically necessary" abortions. In those cases that these states count as medically necessary but that are not permitted by the federal guidelines, states cover the cost alone. So the Medicaid money goes to the State and they use it for other things, but the money that is then freed up by the federal money, is used to pay for abortions.

Cutting federal funds wouldn't end PP abortions because they would still be paid for by the State's other funds or by the patient directly.

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