Contact: Iris Riis
JANESVILLE, Wis. – In a stunning display of grassroots activism, more than 400 health care professionals urged Speaker Paul Ryan to stop his unprecedented proposal to end Medicaid coverage for patient health care at Planned Parenthood. Fifty medical students gathered at Ryan’s Janesville office to deliver a letter (attached) outlining the dangerous impacts of blocking medical care for 50,000 of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable patients in need of essential health care at Wisconsin’s oldest and most trusted nonprofit reproductive health care provider, Planned Parenthood.
“Speaker Ryan should be listening to the medical community when it comes to his dangerous proposal to block access to cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing and treatment at Planned Parenthood,” said Nicole Safar, director of government relations at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “Medical experts agree that Planned Parenthood is an essential partner in the health care community that is already struggling to meet the health care needs in the community. Ending funding for patient care at Planned Parenthood will devastate essential health care access among the country and our state’s most vulnerable populations — most prominently in Paul Ryan’s own back yard.”
Nearly 50% of the counties served by Planned Parenthood have no alternative health care provider. In Ryan’s own district there is already a tremendous unmet need for health care. Planned Parenthood is the only family planning provider in nearly half of the counties in Ryan’s district.
The demonstration comes on the heels of Ryan’s CNN town hall meeting, where last week he lied to Americans about health care access in Wisconsin and across the nation. The week before, Ryan blocked the delivery of nearly 90,000 petitions from people who support Planned Parenthood. (Fortunately, Rep. Gwen Moore was there to hear voters’ concerns.)
Since Ryan announced his intention to block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements on Jan. 5, there have been more than 26,000 calls to Ryan’s office and nearly 180,000 signatures for a petition supporting the essential health care provided by Planned Parenthood.
“We’ve heard reports from local supporters trying to get through to Speaker Ryan’s office who were not even able to leave a voicemail,” said Safar. “It’s clear that blocking health care access is a deeply unpopular policy, even among Trump supporters – 48% of whom support Planned Parenthood.”