While blogging on Speak Out California is always fun for me-( although the topics sometimes make my blood boil ), it is quite rewarding when the opposition sees fit to respond in an attempt to neutralize the content of the posting. Mixing it up with those who disagree is what democracy and freedom of speech are all about.
So this time, the push-back comes from the California Catholic Daily. I didn’t know such a publication existed, but I do now. The gist of their piece, which directly quotes Speak Out’s recent posting, is to challenge Planned Parenthood’s claims that it needs to see an increase in the reimbursement rate for its clinical services, which haven’t been increased in 20 years. That fact alone should be sufficient to warrant an increase. What can you purchase today at the same price you could 20 years ago?
Not even baseball cards—which went for a dime a pack in the old days or for those who never collected them, think of a candy bar at less than a quarter, or a gallon of gas at less than a buck. So, why should Planned Parenthood, or any health care provider, for that matter, be forced to accept pricing that is 20 years old for services that continue to be a necessity for thousands and at a cost of delivery that only keeps going up?
But when you dislike the healthcare being provided and dislike the provider, Planned Parenthood, almost as much, those basic realities don’t factor into the equation. So, without challenging the motives of the good people at California Catholic Daily, let’s just look at the facts:
Planned Parenthood has surplus funding and ended the year with a budget surplus.
Planned Parenthood, like most large organizations and healthcare providers, segregate their operations expenses from their capital expenses. Providing services are the operational expenses. The actual physical plant, and the maintenance and improvement of the facilities are the capital expenses.
I suspect the Archdioses has similar programs and funding mechanisms because very few (if any) organizations lump them together or mix the two funding sources. Not smart and not likely. The actual structure and its needs are kept separate from the services provided within its walls.
In Planned Parenthoods case, these “surplus” funds are “restricted” capital funds that donors to Planned Parenthood specifically designate be used for remodeling, expanding and opening new clinics–the physical plants from which services can be rendered. Thus, the fact still remains that California’s Planned Parenthood clinics currently reach only 46% of individuals eligible for family planning services. With their mission of meeting the health care needs of the uninsured (which numbers continue to grow), Planned Parenthood must provide services and have places within which to provide them–very simple and basic organizational and operational structure.
The Catholic Daily then complains that Planned Parenthood spent a ton of money fighting Propositions 73 and 85 (both of which were funded by wealthy anti-choice individuals who wanted to force Parental Notication on the people of California—who rejected this effort twice within a 12 months period).
Yes, when forced to defend the Constitutional rights of women to exercise their reproductive decisions-for which Planned Parenthood is dedicated- they did have to raise an enormous amount of money. They didn’t pick this fight–but they were committed to winning it on behalf of the women of this state, and did. Could the money have been better spent providing services? Of course, but if in the end the right-wing takes away the ability to access these services, you’ve got to fight to keep that right alive and that’s just what Planned Parenthood did.
Planned Parenthood pays their top executives “very well.”
Planned Parenthood’s affiliates are large organizations providing complex health care and education services that fill a need that the government does not fill. Its CEO’s are paid well within the accepted norms for all non-profits as defined by independent “watch dog” organizations such as Charity Navigator and are paid well below comparable salaries paid to CEO’s in the for-profit health care field.
But most importantly, we’re still waiting for that reimbursement rate increase. And we’ll be monitoring both the Governor’s and legislatures response in the days and weeks ahead. While being challenged by groups that don’t believe in contraception or reproductive choice isn’t a surprise, we need to keep our eye on the ball. In this case, that ball is adequate funding for the critically important services provided by groups like Planned Parenthood.
Because the right to healthcare without access, is really no right at all.