Senate Passes SB 743 - The Free Choice in Family Planning Act | CFHC Press Release

Senate Passes SB 743 - The Free Choice in Family Planning Act

Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Contact Information: 

Ana Sandoval / PPAC Communications Director / 916.712.6239 or 916.446.5247 x115

Amy Moy / Essential Access Health VP of Public Affairs / 415.518.4465

California Legislature Takes First Step Toward Protecting Reproductive Health Access in Trump Era

SACRAMENTO – Yesterday the Senate Health Committee passed SB 743 - the free choice in family planning act - by a vote of 27-12. The measure ensures that millions of low-income Californians will be able to continue to access essential health services from local providers they trust and rely for high quality care. This is particularly important for women who need an appointment without delay and have concerns about confidentiality.

California has a long history of protecting and improving women’s health. These protections are more important than ever as Congress and the Trump administration move to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.

That’s why Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and Essential Access Health are sponsoring SB 743 to ensure that low-income Californians do not lose their long-standing ability to access family planning and related services from their provider of choice - if the federal provision that this right hinges on is eliminated. 

As Medicaid managed care began to grow in the 1980's, many Californians enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans sought family planning care out of network. To promote access, Congress passed laws and rules that not only allowed Medicaid enrollees to obtain family planning services from any qualified, willing provider who accepted Medicaid patients, but also to have direct access to those providers. For decades, California has implemented these federal rules under the Department of Health Care Services through “All Plan” letters and contract language.

Authored by Senator Ed Hernandez, SB 743 seeks to codify the federal free choice in family planning provision into state law to protect this critical benefit for low-income Californians, in the face of anticipated threats on the federal level. Elimination of the federal protections was included in the most recent version of the American Health Care Act.

“Imagine running out of birth control or finding a lump in your breast and then learning that your local Planned Parenthood, the provider you’ve trusted for years, is no longer eligible to serve you,” said Kathy Kneer, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “This could be the stark new reality for millions across California without the protections of SB 743.”

"Birth control is personal and time sensitive," said Julie Rabinovitz, President and CEO at Essential Access Health. "SB 743 is a pathway for pro-actively protecting patient choice and timely access to family planning providers. It will strengthen California’s protections against anticipated attacks on women’s health on the federal level and provide a model for other states that can and want to do the same,” Rabinovitz added.

SB 743 now moves to the Assembly Health Committee.

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Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) is the state public policy office representing California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates. Through advocacy and electoral action, PPAC promotes sound public policy in areas of reproductive and preventive health care, family planning and comprehensive sexual health education.

Essential Access Health (Essential Access) champions and promotes quality sexual and reproductive health care for all. Essential Access achieves its mission through an umbrella of programs and services, including health center support initiatives, provider training, advanced clinical research, public policy and outreach, and awareness campaigns. As the administrator of the nation’s largest and most diverse Title X system in the country, Essential Access partners with a diverse provider network that collectively serves over 1,000,000 women, men, and teens each year at nearly 380 health centers across California.