Now that the Senate Republicans so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, the numbers are so offensive that Democrats are leading the charge to break the glass on the emergency fire extinguisher to hose it down.
The tens of millions who will be hurt by the BCRA as early as next year if just 51 senators pass the bill before July 4th is dominating headlines across the nation. National and local news groups are identifying just how bad life will be for seniors, children and the disabled, among others, once $772 billion of Medicaid funding is eliminated over the next decade. In the Republican House’s version, $834 billion is shifted from spending to help these groups better afford healthcare to spending on massive tax giveaways to the nation’s wealthiest.
Washington Republicans Defund Panned Parenthood
As toxic as the House and Senate bills are, reporting by media on another key provision of the bill isn’t getting the same hair-on-fire coverage stoking hour-to-hour news cycles. The story gone under-reported is the decimation of funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education.
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), knows the score for her group, and it isn’t good.
“The CBO score reaffirms what we knew: Trumpcare is heartless and singles out Planned Parenthood, blocking millions of women from preventive care,” she said in prepared remarks Tuesday.
If Medicaid is gutted as Congressional Republicans are ready to do, one in five women of reproductive age who rely on PP for essential, preventive care, will see an increase in premiums and deductibles.
Laguens put it in stark terms, “Trumpcare is the worst legislation for women’s health in a generation,” adding it makes it “harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.”
Kasich Is Not A Democrat
When Democrats applaud Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich for acting and sounding like a Democrat when it comes to funding Medicaid going forward, they seem to forget that he thinks PPFA sells baby parts, a statement he made last year on the presidential trail. Kasich doesn’t like to speak about PPFA for good reasons, since it’s a sore subject for him given his statement last year on the presidential campaign trail that he thinks PP sells baby parts and his history of signing anti-women’s health bills into law.
At one of the governor’s many town hall meetings last year, this one in Virginia, young women got in his face when he talked out of both sides of his mouth on the topic of women’s health. The day before his appearance at George Mason University, he signed into Ohio law a bill defunding Planned Parenthood introduced after an anti-abortion organization released fake news videos claiming Planned Parenthood was selling “aborted baby parts.”
“We consider women’s health to be critical,” Kasich said with a flare of temper. “But you don’t have to be captive towards delivering it through an organization that frankly is largely discredited.”
Democrats and commonsense independents sometimes forget the debris field of bad bills Ohio’s term-limited governor has signed into law, establishing the Buckeye State as a leader in bills harmful to women.
PPFA confronted Ohio’s petulant CEO via Twitter: “If single mothers raising children ‘are the real heroes in America,’” Planned Parenthood tweeted, “why do you cut programs that would help them, John Kasich?”
Kasich’s response to a question about Planned Parenthood wasn’t new: “We’re not gonna fund it,” he said shortly before ending his town hall meeting in a huff after being asked a question on a topic he likes to avoid at all costs since he’s on the wrong side of the issue.
In the wake of the fake news on PPFA, Ohio’s lame-duck leader called for vigorous prosecution of those involved. Speaking for his boss at the time, Kasich press secretary Rob Nichols said Kasich “finds this news and practice abhorrent… This is illegal under both Ohio and federal laws and anyone who violates those laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, and credible evidence of a possible violation should be fully investigated,” the Columbus Dispatch reported.
So as Mr. Kasich basks in the kudos ladled on him by Democrats desperately trying to find a Republican who sides with them on the issue, they should understand that Kasich’s political motivations on defending Medicaid differ by miles with their motivations.
Kasich’s Debris Field On Anti-Women Laws
In August of last year, following the governor signing of a bill that defunded Planned Parenthood by eliminating it from consideration from state grant programs for public health and education services, a federal judge blocked the governor’s bill.
Judge Michael R. Barrett of U.S. District Court in Cincinnati declared that if the law is not permanently blocked, Planned Parenthood “will suffer a continuing irreparable injury for which there is no adequate remedy at law,” the Columbus Dispatch reported. Judge Barrett said the law Kasich signed violates the First and Fourteenth amendments.
“Today’s ruling supports the rights of all Ohioans to access needed health care,” said Iris E. Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, in a statement. “This law would have been especially burdensome to communities of color and people with low income who already often have the least access to care.”
Kasich must also be remembered for flashing his anti-abortion credentials early on, when he signed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the fetus is nonviable. Kasich signed a budget bill in 2013 that stripped roughly $1.4 million in family planning funds from Planned Parenthood.
In fact, during Kasich’s time as governor, nearly half of Ohio’s abortion clinics have closed. Kasich, who normally talks in tongues to mask his real feelings on controversial topics, doesn’t mince words when it comes to repealing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling by the Supreme Court that guarantees a woman the constitutional right to an abortion.
“It will be up to the states to decide how they want to proceed and that’s precisely what we would do,” Ohio’s 69th governor said last year.
Progress Ohio’s Executive Director Sandy Theis has Kasich’s number and advised accordingly.
“Don’t listen to what he says, look at what he’s done,” she said last year. “He’s closed half of Ohio’s clinics and enacted 16 new abortion restrictions – including one that even bans rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services.”
Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, nailed Kasich to his own cross of hostility to women in an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch.
“Gov. John Kasich, motivated by political gain and his personal ideological agenda, has enacted 16 restrictions on reproductive health care including abortion,” she wrote. “These laws were promoted using extreme rhetoric, accusing women and doctors of murder. None of these restrictions were medically necessary. None have improved health care in Ohio, in fact quite the opposite.”
As U.S. Senators debate whether they will vote for or against the BCRA, two women senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both Republicans, appear focused on the bill’s attack on PPFA. When Kasich talks with his GOP buddies in Washington, including his politico alter-ego, Ohio’s junior U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, he might want to also take time to speak with Sens. Collins and Murkowski to hear why defunding PPFA sticks in their craw enough to abandon the bill.
But that seems a bridge to far for Kasich to cross, given his ignorance to and hostility toward women, based on some misbegotten idea he has that hurting them will help them.