Monthly Archives

August 2017

Going Off the Record Can’t Change the Factual Record of theACA

Yesterday, a senior Trump Administration official — a mom with two kids — went off the record to discuss the Trump Administration’s commitment to sabotaging the health care system. While claiming to favor stabilizing the insurance markets, the official offered no substance, instead promoting more blatantly false information in what appears to be an attempt to preempt their sabotage. Just how outlandish were the statements made? Take a look for yourself…

STATEMENT: “The administration, the official suggested, will do the minimum necessary to comply with the law, which Mr. Trump has called ‘an absolute disaster’ and threatened to let collapse. ‘I don’t think we can force people to sign up for the program,’ the official said.” [NYT, 8/30/17]

FACT: OBAMACARE IS MORE POPULAR THAN EVER, AND EVEN TRUMP SUPPORTERS WANT THE ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE THE LAW WORK

Kaiser Family Foundation Poll Results: “Only Weeks After Republicans In Congress Failed To Repeal The Landmark Health Reform Law, 52 Percent Of Respondents Hold A Favorable View Of The Affordable Care Act.” “Underscoring the adage that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s (almost) gone, the popularity of Obamacare is surging. Only weeks after Republicans in Congress failed to repeal the landmark health reform law, 52 percent of respondents hold a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation August poll. That’s up 10 percentage points since June of last year and nearly 20 points since November 2013, when public support for the ACA was at its nadir.” [CBS, 8/30/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Large Majority Of The Public, Including Half Of Republicans And Trump Supporters, Say The Administration Should Try To Make The Affordable Care Act Work.” “After the Senate’s failure to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that eight in 10 Americans (78%) say President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work. This includes large majorities of Democrats (95%) and independents (80%), as well as about half of Republicans (52%) and President Trump’s supporters (51%).” [KFF, 8/11/17]

STATEMENT: “‘We want people to have access to quality health care,’ the official said. ‘I look at it from a patient perspective. I’m a mom. I’ve got two kids. I’ve got a family. I try to look at health care through that lens. What would I want? What would my family want? I think people want stability in the marketplace.’ ‘We want the health care market, the individual marketplace to function and to function well,’ the official added. ‘It is not functioning, the way it is today.’” [NYT, 8/30/17]

FACT: THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS POISED TO THRIVE AS LONG AS THE SIGNIFICANT UNCERTAINTY INTRODUCED BY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AND REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS IS REMOVED.

In 2017, Every County Will Have An Insurer Participating In The Health Insurance Marketplace. [Kaiser Family Foundation, 8/18/17]


Standard & Poor: “Every Time Something New (And Potentially Disruptive) Is Thrown Into The Works, It Impedes The Individual Market’s Path To Stability.” The U.S. ACA individual market shows signs of improvement, as most insurers’ 2016 results were better than 2015 results. But the market is still developing and will need a couple more years to reach target profitability. 2016 results and the market enrollment so far in 2017 show that the ACA individual market is not in a ‘death spiral.’ However, every time something new (and potentially disruptive) is thrown into the works, it impedes the individual market’s path to stability.” [S&P, 4/7/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Policy Uncertainty Has The Potential To Destabilize The Individual Market Generally.” “While the market on average is stabilizing, there remain some areas of the country that are more fragile. In addition, policy uncertainty has the potential to destabilize the individual market generally. Mixed signals from the Administration and Congress as to whether cost sharing subsidy payments will continue or whether the individual mandate will be enforced have led to some insurers to leave the market or request larger premium increases than they would otherwise.” [KFF, 8/10/17]

STATEMENT: “‘What we’re seeing with some of the programs is you’re spending a lot of money on it, but the idea of these programs is to sign people up,’ the official said. ‘And if you’re giving them a grant and they’re only signing up a few people, then we’re actually wasting money there when we’re spending thousands of dollars to sign up one person. That doesn’t make any sense.’” [NYT, 8/30/17]

FACT: NEARLY 8 IN 10 AMERICANS WANT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE THE ACA WORK AND THE ROLE OF NAVIGATORS IS INTEGRAL TO THAT

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Large Majority Of The Public, Including Half Of Republicans And Trump Supporters, Say The Administration Should Try To Make The Affordable Care Act Work.” “After the Senate’s failure to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that eight in 10 Americans (78%) say President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work. This includes large majorities of Democrats (95%) and independents (80%), as well as about half of Republicans (52%) and President Trump’s supporters (51%).” [KFF, 8/11/17]

Bipartisan Group Of Eight Governors: “The Federal Government Should Continue To Fund Outreach And Enrollment Efforts That Encourage Americans To Sign Up For Insurance.” “First and foremost, encouraging younger, healthier people to enroll in insurance and educating Americans about the importance of coverage can help improve the risk pool. The federal government should continue to fund outreach and enrollment efforts that encourage Americans to sign up for insurance. Many states invest in similar efforts, and all states need the federal government’s support to maximize participation from younger, healthier people.” [Letter, 8/31/17]

Brendan Riley, North Carolina Justice Center: “It Seems Pretty Clear The Administration Is Trying To Undermine Enrollment In Order To Destabilize The Individual Market And Score Political Points.” “This is a sort of death by a thousand cuts,” said Brendan Riley, a health policy analyst with the North Carolina Justice Center, an antipoverty group. “It seems pretty clear the administration is trying to undermine enrollment in order to destabilize the individual market and score political points.” [Wall Street Journal, 8/9/17]

Jessie Menkens, Alaska Primary Care Association: “Menkens And Others Say They Believe The Navigator Groups Are More Important Than In Years Past, Given The Lack Of Commitment From The Trump Administration To Promoting Healthcare.gov.” Menkens and others say they believe the navigator groups are more important than in years past, given the lack of commitment from the Trump administration to promoting Healthcare.gov. “There is a lot of noise coming from Washington, and it is our job to try to cut through that and provide factual and relatable information,” Menkens said. [Washington Post, 8/8/17]

STATEMENT: “When asked if the administration would continue paying the subsidies to insurance companies to aid low-income people, the official said that ‘you still had double-digit rate increases’ when the Obama administration provided the subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments.” [NYT, 8/30/17]

FACT: PREMIUMS WENT UP $1 FROM 2016–2017 AFTER TAX CREDITS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE JACKING UP RATES TO COMPENSATE FOR THE UNCERTAINTY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS CREATED AROUND CSR PAYMENTS

CBO: 20–25 Percent Premium Increase, Nearly $200 Billion Cost to Taxpayers, Coverage Losses, Market Uncertainty If Trump’s Cancels Health Care Payments. “Premiums for a popular type of individual health care plan would rise sharply, and more people would be left with no insurance options if President Donald Trump makes good on his threat to stop “Obamacare” payments to insurers, the Congressional Budget Office says. The nonpartisan number crunchers also estimated that cutting off payments that now reduce copays and deductibles for people of modest incomes would add $194 billion to federal deficits over a decade. That head-scratching outcome is because a different Affordable Care Act subsidy would automatically increase as premiums jump, more than wiping out any savings.” [Associated Press, 8/16/17]

Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation: “Ending The Payments To Insurers Would Introduce More Chaos Into An Unsettled Market, And Perversely End Up Costing The Federal Government More In The End.” “‘Ending the payments to insurers would introduce more chaos into an unsettled market, and perversely end up costing the federal government more in the end,’ said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan group that found similar results.” [Associated Press, 8/16/17]

Brad Wilson, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of North Carolina: “The Failure Of The Administration And The House To Bring Certainty And Clarity By Funding CSRs Has Caused Our Company To File A 22.9 Percent Premium Increase, Rather Than One That Is Materially Lower.” “The failure of the administration and the House to bring certainty and clarity by funding CSRs has caused our company to file a 22.9 percent premium increase, rather than one that is materially lower. That will impact hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.” [Washington Post, 5/26/17]


Credit: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

Kelly Paulk, Vice President, Product Strategy And Individual Markets, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee: “We Have To Factor In Two Significant Uncertainties…Combining Those Two Factors Leads To An Average 21 Percent Rate Increase.” “Our 2017 rates are allowing us to earn a margin (profit) for the first time in four years and would have enabled us to propose only a small increase for 2018 to cover expected changes in medical and operating costs. However, we have to factor in two significant uncertainties — whether the federal government will fund cost-sharing reductions for low-income members and how the risk pool will change if the coverage mandate is not enforced … Combining those two factors leads to an average 21 percent rate increase.” [Blog Post, 6/30/17]

Dr. Mario Molina, Former CEO, Molina Healthcare: “Don’t Let [The Administration And Republicans In Congress] Fool You.” “The administration and Republicans in Congress want you to believe that insurers raising premiums for their plans or exiting the marketplaces all together are consequences of the design of the Affordable Care Act instead of the direct results of their own actions to sabotage the law. Don’t let them fool you.” [U.S. News & World Report, 5/30/17]

CMS: Premiums For The Benchmark Plan Increased By Only $1 After Tax Credits Between 2016–2017. [CMS, 3/17/17]


STATEMENT: “An administration official refused to offer a target for 2018 signups Wednesday, saying too many factors could affect how to set that target, chief among them high prices for Obamacare next year. ‘It is hard to say that we can get to this target or that target because there are so many things going on in the market,’ said the official, speaking on background.” [Washington Examiner, 8/30/17]

FACT: HHS HAS RELEASED ENROLLMENT PROJECTIONS AND PREDICTIONS FOR EACH OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD SINCE THE FIRST

The Secretary of HHS Released Projections — On The Record And The Methodology Behind It — For The 2015, 2016, And 2017 Open Enrollment Periods Ahead Of Open Enrollment. [HHS, 11/10/14, 10/15/15, 10/19/16]

DISASTER AT HOME: Graham-Cassidy-Heller Would Devastate States, Destroy People’s Health Care

DISASTER AT HOME: Graham-Cassidy-Heller Would Devastate States, Destroy People’s Health Care

In a desperate attempt to satisfy President Trump, Sens. Graham, Cassidy and Heller have slapped together a health care repeal bill that would be devastating to their own constituents’ health care. Louisiana alone stands to lose a whopping $2.3 billion and Nevada $250 million under a bill that is as bad as full repeal by all accounts.

Just look at the headlines for how it’s playing across the country and in the Senators’ home states…

Nevada Independent: Nevada could lose $250 million under Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal, new report says

New Orleans Gambit: Report: Cassidy-Graham health care plan could cost Louisiana $2.3 billion in health care funding

New Mexico Public Radio: Report: Cassidy-Graham Bill Would Deeply Cut Health Coverage Funding for New Mexico

Middletown Press: Report: Connecticut would be hit hard by ACA repeal

CT Mirror: New Obamacare replacement plan would hurt CT, report says

Fiscal Times: The GOP Has One Last Health Care Plan. It Would Also Cause Millions to Lose Coverage

Inside Health Policy: CBPP: Graham-Cassidy Block Grant Would Cut Funds To 42 States By 2026


Protect Our Care Statement on 100% of American Counties Having Access to Affordable Care Act

~The threat to your health care is now Trump and the Republican Congress~

With today’s announcement by the Ohio Insurance Commissioner that Paulding county now has a health insurer, every county in America has a health insurance provider for plans under the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces for coverage next year. In response, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Leslie Dach released the following statement. Dach is a former Senior Counselor at HHS.

“Trump and Republicans in Congress have been rooting for health care to fail. With today’s announcement, their talking points continued to evaporate.

It’s official. The biggest threat to your health care is still sabotage from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress.”

NEW: GOP’s Claim That Counties Won’t Have Health Care Has Evaporated

The Kaiser Family Foundation now confirms that 3,006 of the 3,007 counties in the United States have Affordable Care Act marketplace plans for next year. The one county that doesn’t, Ohio’s Paulding County, serves 334 people.

Republicans keep saying that many people will not have access to health care plans and make discredited claims about a non-existent death spiral. The claims have been debunked by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and now by the facts in the 2018 coverage map from Kaiser Family Foundation.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the lies. Just last night, GOP Speaker Paul Ryan again made these debunked claims.

Here’s the truth from the Kaiser Family Foundation



Another Bad Week for Republicans on Health Care

New Reports, Polling Data and Continued Public Backlash Show Republican Sabotage the Wrong Approach

GOP AGENDA: SABOTAGE, UNCERTAINTY AND REPEAL CAUSE PREMIUMS TO RISE

President Trump and Republicans in Congress ran their campaigns promising to lower health care premiums and reduce costs. But it’s now clear that every part of their health care agenda will actually raise them significantly.

At the same time Republicans in Congress kept looking for legislative ways to repeal health care, the Trump administration injected uncertainty into the marketplaces by undermining implementation of the law by repeatedly threatening to default on payments that help lower out of pocket costs and deductibles, and proudly declaring its goal was to let the marketplaces fail. The Congressional Budget Office and Kaiser Family Foundation found that this sabotage and uncertainty will increase premiums by 20% and add almost $200 billion to the federal deficit. The Center for American Progress estimated that Trump’s threats alone will raise premiums as much as $2,500 next year. But that’s apparently not enough for this administration as they continue to pursue a repeal agenda in Congress and seem fully committed to sabotaging open enrollment — potentially denying millions of Americans access to affordable health coverage.

Read more about the GOP efforts to increase health care costs here.

AFTER VOTING TO INCREASE PREMIUMS AND CUT HEALTH COVERAGE, REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO FACE ANGRY CONSTITUENTS AT HOME

Both the House and Senate are home for August recess, and many Republicans are facing a not-so-warm welcome. 49 Republican Senators and 217 Republican House Members voted to repeal health care — threatening health coverage for millions, gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions and increasing premiums for American families. Their constituents are showing up at every town hall to demand an explanation or holding their own ‘empty chair’ town halls for those who refuse to talk to their constituents. Republicans who voted to take away people’s health care are facing major blowback back home and people across the country are going to continue to hold them accountable.

Coverage Highlights:

STUDY: REPUBLICAN ACTIONS IN HEALTH CARE ARE “EXTRAORDINARILY UNPOPULAR”

A new study of 27 national polls published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that while Republican and Democratic voters’ opinions on specific policies varied widely on health care, 72 percent of the public strongly stated that the number of people covered by Medicaid should not decline. As Jacob Leibenluft of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out, the “Combination of activism, loss aversion, increased attention to issue have really shifted whole health care debate in less than a year.”

Republican Repeal Bills Were “Extraordinarily Unpopular.” “Overall, only approximately one in four of the respondents (24%) approved of the congressional Republican plan (or plans, since they include both the plan that passed in the House and the proposals put forth in the Senate) to repeal and replace the ACA, whereas 56% disapproved. Fully one in five respondents did not have an opinion.”

72 Percent Of The Public — Across Party Lines — Opposed Medicaid Coverage Losses, Contrary To The Effect Of The Republican Health Care Repeal Bills. “A majority of the public preferred to keep the number of people covered by Medicaid the same as it is now (72%), whereas 22% wanted to reduce the number receiving Medicaid to what it was before the ACA, reducing government spending and taxes…On most specific policy issues in the debate, Republicans and Democrats disagreed, but there is one major exception. The two parties’ adherents agree that the number of people covered by Medicaid should not be reduced in any replacement bill.”

The Public Favored Providing Tax Credits To At Least The Same Number Of People Who Receive Them Today Rather Than Reducing Them, As The GOP Bills Would Have Done. “A majority of the general public did not favor changing the law so that it either provided financial assistance for the purchase of health insurance to fewer persons or reduced the number of people to be covered by Medicaid. When asked about the extent of coverage to be provided by a replacement plan, 57% of the public as a whole preferred to provide financial assistance to purchase insurance to the same number of people as the ACA does now, whereas approximately one third preferred to provide assistance to somewhat fewer people (22%) or a lot fewer people (12%) but save taxpayer money.”

Allowing Insurance Companies To Discriminate Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions And Sell Health Plans With Fewer Benefits Were Deeply Unpopular. “Approximately one third of the public (35%) believed that insurers should be allowed to offer health plans that cover fewer benefits than currently required…On the issue of ending federal health insurance regulatory protections for people who have preexisting medical conditions, less than one fourth of the public believed that insurers should be allowed to charge more for people with preexisting conditions (24%).”

“The Public Became More Supportive Of The Principle That The Federal Government Should Ensure Coverage For Them.” “Finally, the most important change over time was not the increase in public approval of the ACA, but rather the increase in overall support for universal coverage. When confronted with millions of people losing coverage, the public became more supportive of the principle that the federal government should ensure coverage for them.”


GOP AGENDA — Sabotage, Uncertainty and Repeal Cause Premiums to Rise

PROTECT OUR CARE

MEMORANDUM

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Leslie Dach, Protect Our Care Campaign Director

RE: GOP AGENDA — Sabotage, Uncertainty and Repeal Cause Premiums to Rise

DATE: August 17, 2017

President Trump and Republicans in Congress ran their campaigns promising to lower health care premiums and reduce costs. But it’s now clear that every part of their health care agenda will actually raise them significantly.

At the same time Republicans in Congress kept looking for legislative ways to repeal health care, the Trump administration injected uncertainty into the marketplaces by undermining implementation of the law by repeatedly threatening to default on payments that help lower out of pocket costs and deductibles, and proudly declaring its goal was to let the marketplaces fail. The Congressional Budget Office and Kaiser Family Foundation found that this sabotage and uncertainty will increase premiums by 20% and add almost $200 billion to the federal deficit. The Center for American Progress estimated that Trump’s threats alone will raise premiums as much as $2,500 next year. But that’s apparently not enough for this administration — they continue to pursue a repeal agenda in Congress and seem fully committed to sabotaging open enrollment — potentially denying millions of Americans access to affordable health coverage.

Here are the ways the GOP’s efforts increase health care costs:

  1. SABOTAGE

The new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office makes clear that if the Trump administration cancels payments of cost-sharing-reductions, payments that help lower out of pocket costs and deductibles, it will raise premiums by 20 percent next year and by 25 percent in 2020 — while costing taxpayers nearly $200 billion more. The Kaiser Family Foundation found similarly that it would mean a 19% increase nationally.

President Trump: “Without The Payments, Obamacare Is Gone, Just Gone”: “The president told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that not only would such a move cause Obamacare to ‘die,’ it could also be used to force Democrats to negotiate on repealing the health-care law altogether. ‘Without the payments, Obamacare is gone, just gone,’ Trump said.” [ Washington Post, April 14, 2017]

The GOP Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Lamar Alexander, said: “Without payment of these cost-sharing reductions, Americans will be hurt.”

2. UNCERTAINTY

According to both Kaiser Family Foundation and the Congressional Budget Office, premiums are ALREADY increasing because of the uncertainty in the health care markets caused by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress just even threatening to cancel cost sharing reduction payments and not enforcing the law. Insurers are jacking up rates in anticipation that this sabotage continues. The Center for American Progress estimated that this uncertainty will raise premiums as much as $2,500 next year.

As the Associated Press reported, “Actions by the Trump administration are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many people, according to a nonpartisan study.” This recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation exposed the latest potential victims of the Trump Administration’s sabotage of our health care — middle class Americans whose premiums would skyrocket.

In addition, CBO echoed this point in its recent report:

“In an analysis using a preliminary version of updated projections of spending to subsidize health insurance purchased through the marketplaces that will be published soon, CBO and JCT find most of the results to be similar to those discussed here. The main exception is this: Premiums under the policy would rise by a smaller amount in 2018 — as the updated projections incorporate some increase in premiums next year as a result of current uncertainty about future CSR payments. “

3. REPEAL

It’s not just uncertainty and sabotage that raise costs, it’s also the Republican agenda of repealing health care. Every alternative Republicans in Congress proposed would lead to higher health care costs.


American families can’t afford higher health care costs so it’s worth pointing out that every part of the Republican agenda leads to higher costs and less coverage: paying more for less. Costs are going up simply because Republicans are playing politics and, in the case of Trump and his Administration, due to intentional efforts to sabotage the current law. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote, “Republicans run the government and that means they are responsible for what happens in health care.”

Republicans Must Confront Trump’s Proposed Sabotage of Health Care

CBO: 20–25 Percent Premium Increase, Nearly $200 Billion Cost to Taxpayers, Coverage Losses, Market Uncertainty If Trump’s Cancels Health Care Payments

While Republicans are in the midst of responding to the fallout from Donald Trump’s latest comments on the events in Charlottesville, soon they may have to answer for the President’s continued efforts to sabotage health care for the American people. Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that a decision by President Trump to cancel critical health care payments, known as Cost-Sharing-Reductions, would inject substantial uncertainty in the insurance markets, force premiums to increase by 20% next year and 25% by 2020 and increase costs to the taxpayer by nearly $200 billion over ten years.

The headlines on the CBO report are bad enough for Republicans, whose partisan repeal efforts, along with Trump’s bluster, have injected uncertainty into the health care marketplace. Imagine the fallout they will face if Trump follows through with his threat to cancel payments which lowers the cost of health care for millions of Americans.

How do Republicans get out of this box canyon they’ve marched themselves into? Oppose Trump’s irrational sabotage of health care and join in a bipartisan process to improve health care for the American people. If not, these headlines will only get worse.

Associated Press: CBO: Higher premiums if Trump halts Obamacare subsidies

NBC 11 Baltimore: CBO: Deficit would spike, premiums would rise if Trump ends Obamacare subsidies

USA Today: CBO: Ending Obamacare subsidies would raise premiums and the deficit

The Courier-Tribune: CBO: Deficit, premiums would rise if Trump ends subsidies

Fox Business: Health Exchange Premiums Would Rise 20% in 2018 If Subsidies Ended, CBO Estimates — Update

NPR: CBO Predicts Rise In Deficit If Trump Cuts Payments To Insurance Companies

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Insurer subsidy cut seen as costly

The Guardian: Trump healthcare subsidy cut would raise premiums by 20%, CBO says

Marketwatch: CBO: Trump threat to scrap cost-sharing payments would increase federal deficits, premiums

New York Times: Trump Threat to Obamacare Would Send Premiums and Deficit Skyward

Wall Street Journal: Health Exchange Premiums Would Rise 20% in 2018 If Subsidies Ended, CBO Estimates

Politico: CBO: Pulling Obamacare subsidies would drive up premiums, reduce coverage

The Hill: CBO: ObamaCare premiums could rise 20 percent if Trump ends payments

Washington Examiner: CBO: Cutting off Obamacare payments would jack premiums up 20 percent

Bloomberg: Halting Obamacare Subsidies Would Increase Deficit, CBO Says

CBS: Premiums and deficit would rise if Trump ends Obamacare payments, CBO says

CNBC: If Trump sabotages Obamacare, premiums will spike 25 percent by 2020, CBO warns

San Francisco Chronicle: CBO: Ending health subsidies would raise premiums 20 percent

Los Angeles Times: Deficit would jump, premiums would rise if Trump ends Obamacare subsidies, CBO says

Business Insider: CBO: Trump could cause healthcare costs to soar for millions of Americans if he ends critical Obamacare payments

CBO Analysis: Trump’s Sabotage Will Force Even Higher Premium Hikes Than Previously Predicted…

Protect Our Care Campaign Director Leslie Dach released the following statement after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that a decision by President Trump to cancel critical health care payments, known as Cost-Sharing-Reductions, would inject substantial uncertainty in the insurance markets, force premiums to increase by 20% next year and 25% by 2020 and increase costs to the taxpayer by nearly $200 billion over ten years.

“This is the latest confirmation that the Trump administration’s plans to sabotage our health care will hurt millions of middle class Americans — bringing substantial uncertainty to the health insurance markets and forcing even higher double digit premium hikes. President Trump seems to prefer playing political sabotage games over doing his job of lowering costs and improving our health care. Whether he tries to repeal health care by legislation or by sabotage it means higher costs and less coverage for American families — and he will be responsible for those results.

“It’s time for all Republicans in Congress to stand up to Trump’s sabotage agenda, work with Democrats and pass real market stabilization reforms to improve our health care system.”

“Tall Tales” Tom Lies About Medicaid, Again

It looks like Tom “Tall Tales” Price has struck again.

While pretending to care about victims of the opioid epidemic yesterday, HHS Secretary Tom Price said “nobody is interested in cutting Medicaid.”

He must have forgotten that his own health care repeal bills would gut Medicaid by more than 25% and that the Trump administration budget cuts it even further.

This is just the latest Whopper of a lie from the man in charge of our health care but who seems incapable of telling the truth about it. See the rest here.

The FACTS:

Health Care Debate: A Sea Change

To: Interested Parties

From: Leslie Dach, Protect Our Care Campaign Director

Re: Health Care Debate: A Sea Change

Date: August 4, 2017

This past week represented a sea change in the effort to repeal health care that few would have predicted when President Trump and Republicans launched their partisan repeal campaign in January. While most observers believed Trump and Republicans in Congress would muscle through legislation to repeal Obamacare by hook or by crook, in the relative blink of an eye, repeal has been declared all but dead, Trump has become increasingly isolated on the issue and the grassroots energy to protect and improve the law has continued unabated.

Here are three things you need to know about the state of the Republican repeal attempts in Washington:

First, Congress’s push to repeal health care is on life support, if not completely dead, with more members urging bipartisan cooperation. The momentum in Congress continued to shift away from repeal this week, with Republicans in both the House and Senate signaling that they favor a bipartisan process to improve our health care system going forward. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced they are holding a series of bipartisan hearings in September to strengthen and stabilize the individual market.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “And I Think, Frankly, Bipartisan Solutions Tend To Be More Durable.” “‘There’s a lot the American people expect of us, but we’ve seen with fragile majorities in the Senate that we are forced to work together to try to solve these problems. And I think, frankly, bipartisan solutions tend to be more durable,’ Cornyn said. Democrats have sent Republicans multiple letters on healthcare that asked, for example, for an all-Senate meeting and suggested a list of rooms where they could hold a public hearing.” [The Hill, 8/1/17]

Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “This Committee Will Hold Hearings…On The Actions Congress Should Take To Stabilize And Strengthen The Individual Health Insurance Market.” “This committee will hold hearings beginning the week of September 4th on the actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market so that Americans will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in the year 2018. We will hear from state insurance commissioners, patients, Governors, health care experts and insurance companies. Committee staff will begin this week working with all of our committee members to prepare for these hearings and discussions.” [Alexander and Murray Statement, 8/1/17]

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) On Moving Forward On Health Care: “I Hope It’ll Be Bipartisan.” [Politico, 7/31/17]

The American people reject Republican partisan repeal and want Congress to work in a bipartisan way, and they are holding Republicans accountable for their votes.

Quinnipiac Poll: “Voters Disapprove 5–1 Of GOP Handling Of Health Care.” “American voters disapprove 80–15 percent of the way Republicans in Congress are handling health care. Even Republicans disapprove 60–32 percent. Voters disapprove 64–25 percent of Republican ideas to replace Obamacare.” [Quinnipiac Poll, 8/3/17]

And in states around the country, people held rallies, called their members of Congress, and showed they will not stop until Congressional Republicans, President Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price quit their game of repeal and sabotage.

Second, President Trump and his administration are increasingly isolated on an island of their own making. Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price continue to advocate for legislative repeal when Republicans in Congress have made clear they want to move on. Absent Congressional action, the administration continues to sabotage the marketplaces, threatening to torpedo the insurance markets by defaulting on cost-sharing reduction payments that lower out-of-pocket costs and deductibles for a majority of those enrolled on the marketplaces. Republicans in Congress strongly disagree and have directly said the administration should continue funding the payments.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Some Kind Of Action With Regard To The Private Health Insurance Market Must Occur. No Action Is Not An Alternative.” “‘If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,’ McConnell said. ‘No action is not an alternative. We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.’” [Washington Post, 7/6/17]

Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “Without Payment Of These Cost-Sharing Reductions, Americans Will Be Hurt.” “And Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican who chairs the influential health committee, said this week that he urged the president to make the payments through September so Congress could work on stabilizing Obamacare in the short-term. That bipartisan solution ideally should also include funding for the subsidies through 2018, he said. ‘Without payment of these cost-sharing reductions, Americans will be hurt,’ Alexander said.” [CNN, 8/4/17]

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “I Think We’re Going To Have To Do That.” “President Donald Trump has been urging lawmakers not to drop the matter, despite a series of failed votes last week. ‘There’s just too much animosity and we’re too divided on healthcare,’ Hatch said in an interview with Reuters. He said he would prefer Congress not appropriate cost-sharing subsidies that help make Obamacare plans affordable but added, ‘I think we’re going to have to do that.’” [Reuters, 7/31/17]

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): The Senate Should “Bite The Bullet And Stabilize Those Markets.” “Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has for months called for a bipartisan stabilization bill that would guarantee funding for ObamaCare payments, known as cost-sharing reductions, to insurers. Those payments are key to avoiding premium spikes and keeping insurers in the markets. Johnson said Tuesday that he hopes the GOP can pass something next week, but if not, ‘bite the bullet and stabilize those markets.’” [The Hill, 7/13/17]

House Ways And Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX): “Simply Letting Obamacare Collapse Will Cause Even More Pain For [People].” [Brady Statement, 7/28/17]

House Energy And Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR): “I Will Do Everything I Can To Make Sure That The Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments Get Made.” “Likewise, Mr. Walden said last month, ‘I will do everything I can to make sure that the cost-sharing reduction payments get made.’ That, he said, is ‘an obligation we have not only to the insurers,’ but also to consumers, and ‘we cannot leave them high and dry.’” [New York Times, 4/10/17]

House Appropriations Health Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) On Making CSR Payment: “My Personal Opinion Is Yes.” ‘’I don’t think anybody wants to disrupt the markets more than they already are,’ Mr. Cole said in an interview. ‘It’s a very unstable market.’ Asked if he thought Congress should provide the money, Mr. Cole said, ‘My personal opinion is yes.’” [New York Times, 4/10/17]

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) On Not Paying CSR: “I Think That Would Be A Mistake.” “First, withholding that money would ultimately hurt a lot of people making between 150, 200 percent of the poverty level trying to afford insurance. So, I think that would be a mistake.” [Dent Interview on CNN’s New Day, 7/31/17]

Republican and Democratic governors, the chief executives of their respective states, do not agree with the Trump/Price approach:

National Governors Association: “The Administration Has The Opportunity To Stabilize The Health Insurance Market Across Our Nation And Ensure That Our Residents Can Continue To Access Affordable Health Care Coverage.” “The Administration has the opportunity to stabilize the health insurance market across our nation and ensure that our residents can continue to access affordable health care coverage. A first critical step in stabilizing the individual health insurance marketplaces is to fully fund CSRs for the remainder of calendar year 2017 through 2018. This is a necessary step to stabilize the individual marketplaces in the short term as Congress and the Administration address long-term reform efforts.” [NGA, 8/2/17]

And political analysts and journalists have noted Trump’s self-created isolation, too.

New York Times: “‘Time to Move On’: Senate G.O.P. Flouts Trump After Health Care Defeat” [New York Times, 8/1/17]

Associated Press: “Senate Republicans Slowly Turning Their Backs On Trump” [Associated Press, 8/2/17]

Wall Street Journal: “Senate Republicans Rebuff Donald Trump’s Health-Care Push” [Wall Street Journal, 8/1/17]

The HIll: Senate Republicans Brush Off Trump’s Healthcare Demands [The Hill, 8/1/17]

Politico: “Republicans Ignore Trump’s Obamacare Taunts” [Politico, 7/31/17]

It’s clear that Trump and the administration will need to stop burning political capital on a failed gambit that will harm millions of Americans and that the legislative branch won’t get on board with.

Lastly, Americans who stood up and stopped repeal from happening aren’t letting up. Angry at the legislative failure to repeal the ACA, Trump and Price could respond by continuing their ongoing sabotage of people’s health care. They’ve threatened to default on paying cost-sharing reductions, which would raise premiums, spook insurers and hit the middle class hard. They might continue illegally using taxpayer funds to undermine the law. They could further curtail outreach and advertising efforts before Open Enrollment for HealthCare.gov, or continue producing misleading analysis of the ACA, or employ other sinister tactics to weaken current law and put people’s health care at risk.

But people are wise to what Trump and Price are trying to do.

This August recess, thousands of Americans will continue to make their voices heard.

They’ll attend local events across the country as part of Save My Care’s nationwide bus tour.

Los Angeles Times: “Protesters In L.A. And Across The Country Rally To Protect Healthcare From Future Threats.” [LA Times, 7/29/17]

Phoenix Fox 10: “‘Our Lives On The Line’ Rally In Phoenix Supports Affordable Health Care.” [Phoenix Fox 10, 7/29/17]

The Guardian: “Activists Refuse To Slow Resistance After Stymying Republican Healthcare Plan.” [The Guardian, 7/29/17]

They’ll canvass their neighborhoods, making sure their neighbors know how their Senators voted. They’ll continue to visit Congressional town halls across the country, asking their elected leaders to work on bipartisan ways to improve, not tear down, our health care system.

The sea change over the last seven days in how Republicans are approaching health care is significant. Let’s hope when they return from recess, they’ll be guided by the wishes of voters who depend on our health care system, not by the wishes of an increasingly isolated President who’s made clear he has little understanding of health care and equally little desire to remedy that.