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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fight over Planned Parenthood participation in Obamacare goes national

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 6:34 AM

Politico reports on the national dimension of an Arkansas political fight. Planned Parenthood is seeking nationwide to share in the money available under Obamacare to hire workers to help enroll people in the broadened health coverage it provides.

Republicans nationally, who hate Obamacare in the first place and who think the so-called navigation program is likely to be a boondoggle, particularly object to Planned Parenthood participating in the program because, among other medical services, it is an abortion provider. The Obamacare navigation initiative has nothing to do with abortion.

In Arkansas, Republican legislators have declared — absent any official vote — that the Insurance Department may not employ Planned Parenthood. A decision from Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford is pending.

Planned Parenthood is a natural for this work, as Politico points out.

The group’s more than 750 health centers across the country will be promoting the health law and helping women find out about new coverage options for themselves and their families before — and after — enrollment begins Oct. 1. They’re creating everything from refrigerator magnets to online apps that help people enroll in a health plan. Some affiliates will be applying to become official government-funded “navigators” to give people more hands-on help through the signup process.

Planned Parenthood says its health centers see nearly 3 million patients a year, many of them using the clinics as their primary point of care. More than nine out 10 are under age 40. About half are uninsured.

So the group sees itself as uniquely placed to reach those women, helping them get covered and serving as messengers to their families and communities. To that end, it’s training clinic staff, printing posters and pamphlets and incorporating information about the law into its educational programs.

...The organization aims to coordinate national messaging and education with very precise local specifics, according to Eric Ferrero, vice president for communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. It’s honing the communication with Enroll America, a nonprofit that’s coordinating a lot of the health law fundraising and messaging, an Enroll America spokeswoman said.

Never mind all that, Republicans say.

“Planned Parenthood is among the long list of liberal organizations that are expected to receive taxpayer-funded navigator grants. The navigator grants would further enable Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, to continue its misuse of taxpayer dollars to [supplement] their big abortion business,” said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who says she wants to eliminate the navigator program — for which $54 million in funds will be made available — even without a Planned Parenthood link because it’s “ripe for fraud and abuse” and violations of privacy.

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