PLANNED PARENTHOOD PARTICIPATES IN WHITE HOUSE WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE STAKEHOLDER DISCUSSION
Highlights Role as Preventive Health Care Provider to Millions of Women
WASHINGTON, DC — Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and Laurie Rubiner, PPFA vice-president for advocacy and public policy, participated in today’s Women’s Health Care stakeholder discussion hosted by the White House and highlighted the increasing need for access to affordable primary and preventive health care for women.
Planned Parenthood joined leading women’s health care stakeholders and members of the Obama administration in a discussion of ideas to improve the country's ailing health care system. Leading the discussion were Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, Tina Tchen, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council.
“As a trusted preventive health care provider to more than three million women a year, we are honored to participate in today’s health care discussion focusing on women’s health,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “We see firsthand the need for quality, affordable health care for women and families and the need to invest in prevention care.”
The vast majority of Planned Parenthood patients are low-income. As the economic downturn has worsened, Planned Parenthood health centers across the country have seen an increase in patients coming in for affordable preventive care. Some women are deferring annual exams including preventive cancer screenings, buying fewer cycles of contraception, and increasing longer-acting contraceptive methods.
“Any meaningful health care reform needs to lower costs, as well as expand coverage and access. That means expanding coverage for comprehensive reproductive health care and ensuring that essential community providers like Planned Parenthood are included in health plan networks,” said Richards.
Planned Parenthood health centers are part of an important network of women’s essential community providers. Planned Parenthood health centers serve as entry point into the health care system for millions of women. Guttmacher reports that 6 in 10 patients who go to a family planning center like Planned Parenthood consider it their main source of health care. Oftentimes, it is their first interaction with the country’s health care system.
These tough economic times are especially difficult for women struggling to pay for basic health care. A recent survey conducted for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that women are delaying their annual exams as a result of the economic downturn. A May 2009 report by the Commonwealth Foundation found that more than half of women delayed or avoided preventive care because of its cost. And a Kaiser Family Foundation report shows roughly 16.7 million women are uninsured, and thus likely to postpone care and delay or forgo important preventive care such as cancer screenings.