As Congress debates cutting access to Planned Parenthood for Medicaid recipients, Maryland’s legislative leaders are pushing a plan to replace the lost funding, which they estimate would be about $2.7 million a year.
Supporters of the legislation hosted a rally in Annapolis Wednesday morning, ahead of afternoon hearings on the bill in both the House and the Senate.
“Planned Parenthood serves an incredibly important public service in this state,” said Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat and the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “To eliminate that would be to consign more people, especially poor women in our state, to a life with poorer health care and limited choices.”
The loss of services like cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases could be life threatening for many women, he said.
Planned Parenthood reports that more than 40,000 women and men visit Planned Parenthood centers in Maryland each year for health care services.
The legislation is sponsored by a majority of members in both the Senate and the House. However, it would create the type of funding mandate Gov. Larry Hogan staunchly opposes.
Hogan has not taken an explicit position on the bill.
“Health care organizations have been consistently funded in each of the governor's three budgets,” spokesman Amelia Chasse wrote in an email. “Any future budgetary decisions will be made and announced at the appropriate time during the FY 2019 budget process.”