At Planned Parenthood’s recent rally day, supporters got ready to visit with lawmakers… Among them was Bridget Mabunga, a 32 year old who says for years Planned Parenthood clinics served as her place for primary care.
“Depending on whether or not I was in College or often I was working in jobs where I didn’t have health insurance, it was my only form of health care actually…”
Organizers say while Planned Parenthood is well known for offering controversial services like birth control measures and abortions, much of their work is providing primary care, such as cancer screenings—largely to Medi-Cal patients. The President of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California Kathy Kneer says their nurses and providers are leaving for better paying jobs, and they can’t compete. That’s forcing them to cut services.
“Statewide we’re turning away ten-thousand patients a month, 120-thousand patients a year…”
Kneer says the organization is seeking an increase in the state budget to raise the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate— used to pay doctors and nurses. She says it’s stayed about the same since 1985. But Assembly budget committee vice-chairman, Republican Roger Niello says he sees difficult budget negotiations ahead.
“We have been having significantly increasing revenues in the last several years that’s not happening this year. We’re about even, we’re going in to this budget season without any quote found money…”
Niello acknowledges some services offered by Planned Parenthood are troubling. In the past the issues surrounding abortion have been brought up in the debate over state funding. But Kneer says she thinks this time their big hurdle is the tough budget.