Monthly Archives

October 2017

Protect Our Care Statement on Alexander-Murray Announcement

In response to Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announcing their legislation with 24 bipartisan co-sponsors on the Senate floor today, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“The Alexander-Murray bipartisan health care legislation gained significant momentum with today’s announcement that this bill has strong bipartisanship support — vastly more than the partisan Senate repeal efforts that never mustered even 50 votes,” said Woodhouse. “It’s time for all Republicans to get behind this bipartisan approach that stabilizes the market. We’ve said all along that a bipartisan approach to health care was the only approach to health care, and after repeated failed attempts at repeal, today’s announcement is a clear signal to President Trump, Senator McConnell and other Republicans that it is time to abandon partisan repeal. If not, the consequences will be on them.”

Trump and GOP Congress Force Health Care Rate Hike of 34 Percent in Ohio

Trump and GOP Congress Force Health Care Rate Hike of 34 Percent in Ohio

“Approximately 11 percent of that increase is attributable to the cost-sharing payment cuts, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.”

As has been recently reported, health care premiums for Affordable Care Act plans in Ohio are slated to rise 34 percent in 2018, on average, with “approximately 11 percent of that increase is attributable to the cost-sharing payment cuts, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.” While President Trump and Republicans in Congress have been unable to repeal the health care law, they have been doing everything they can to sabotage the marketplace by:

  • President Trump defunding the law’s mandatory cost-sharing-reduction payments, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office said would increase rates by 20% in 2018 and 25% in 2020.
  • Cutting 90% of the funding for advertising to support open enrollment.
  • President Trump signing an Executive Order on his first day in office demanding that agencies dismantle as much of the law as they can.
  • Signing an Executive Order to create garbage insurance plans which will raise premiums, slash coverage and end protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Pursuing partisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has created uncertainty in the market and led to higher premiums.

Now people are facing the consequences.

“Everyone who gets a bill from their insurer for higher health care costs next year can thank President Trump and Republicans in Congress for the sabotage that led to this,” Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse said. “Their repeated threats, uncertainty and sabotage of our health care system is taking a toll on real people’s lives in Ohio. Your health care bills next year should say ‘brought to you by Donald Trump and the GOP.’ It’s time for the GOP to stand up against this sabotage and lower premiums by voting to require the federal government to make CSR payments.”

EXPERTS AND INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS AGREE THAT TRUMP’S SABOTAGE IS RAISING COSTS:

Center for American Progress: “The Center for American Progress estimates that uncertainty around CSRs and mandate enforcement will raise 2018 premiums for benchmark coverage an extra $1,061 annually for a 40-year-old and $2,491 annually for a 64-year-old.” [Center for American Progress, 8/16/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Benchmark Premiums Would Increase By 19 Percent On Average If Cost-Sharing Subsidies Were Unpaid.” [KFF, 4/6/17]

Urban Institute: “We Find That Premiums For Silver Marketplace Plans Would Increase $1,040 Per Person On Average.” [Urban Institute, 1/16]

Commonwealth Fund: “Eliminating Cost-sharing Reductions Could Destabilize Insurance Markets.” [Commonwealth Fund, 4/28/17]

Urban Institute: “A Precipitous Drop In Insurer Participation Is Even More Likely If The Cost-sharing Assistance Is Discontinued.” [Urban Institute, 12/6/16]

Julie Mix Mcpeak, President-Elect Of The National Association Of Insurance Commissioners And Tennessee State Insurance Commissioner: “I Am Very Fearful That We’ll Have Insurers Make A Decision To Leave Markets As A Result Of The Uncertainty.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner: “Failing To Make Payments To Insurers For Cost-sharing Reductions Would Force Insurers To Request A Statewide Average 20.3 Percent Increase Rather Than 8.8 Percent Statewide Average That Was Filed With The Department In May.” [Press Release, 7/31/17]

Mike Kreidler, Washington State Insurance Commissioner: “The Current Federal Administration’s Actions — Such As Not Committing To Reimburse Insurers For Cost-sharing Subsidies And Not Enforcing The Individual Mandate — Appear Focused Only On Destabilizing The Insurance Market.” [Statement, 6/19/17]

Lori Wing-Heier, Director, Alaska Division Of Insurance: “It Is Expected That Health Care Premiums Would Jump As High As 20 Percent If Trump Follows Through With His Threat To Cut Subsidies.” [Fairbanks News-Miner, 8/14/17]

Dave Jones, California State Insurance Commissioner: “President Trump Appears On A Mission To Destroy Health-Insurance Markets By Creating Instability Through His Own Actions And Thereby Depriving Millions Of Americans Of Health-care Coverage.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/17]

Marguerite Salazar, Colorado’s State Insurance Commissioner: “Commissioner Marguerite Salazar Said The Trump Administration Threatens The Whole Market. ‘My Fear Is It May Collapse.’” [Los Angeles Times, 5/18/17]

Craig Wright, Chief Actuary, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation: “If The Subsidies Are Not Funded, Carriers Would Face The Prospect Of Large Financial Losses.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Eric A. Cioppa, Superintendent Of The Maine Bureau Of Insurance: “If They Don’t Get A Subsidy, I Fully Expect Double-Digit Increases For Three Carriers On The Exchanges Here.” [New York Times, 6/4/17]

National Academy for State Health Policy: “The Federal Government Must Commit To Funding CSR Payments In Order To Lower Rates And Stabilize Carrier Participation.” [Letter from State-based Marketplace Directors, 8/30/17]

Dan Hilferty, President And CEO, Independence Blue Cross: “We Firmly Believe Your Coverage Will Be There For 2018, If The Federal Government, Congress And President Commit To, Fund The Subsidies During An Interim Period Of Time.” [CNN, 7/19/17]

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.” [Blog Post, 6/30/17]

Danielle Devine, Michigan Director Of Operations, Meridian Health Plan: “The Political Climate Continues To Make It Difficult To Price And The Uncertainty Over The Future Of The Subsidies Creates The Largest Reason For Significant Rate Increases.” [Crain’s Detroit Business, 6/14/17]

Rick Notter, Director Of Individual Business, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan: “If We Don’t Have That Cost-Sharing (Subsidy), We Have To Make Up The Difference And The Only Way For Us To Do That Is With A Higher Rate.” [Detroit Free Press, 6/14/17]

Dr. Mario Molina, Former CEO, Molina Healthcare: “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]

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.” [Washington Post, 5/26/17]

Kurt Giesa, Practice Leader, Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting: “Our Modeling Shows That This Uncertainty, If It Remains, Could Lead Payers To Submit Rate Increases Between 28 And 40 Percent, And More Than Two-thirds Of Those Increases Will Be Related To The Uncertainty Around CSR Payments And Individual Mandate.” [Oliver Wyman, 6/14/17]

Trump and GOP Congress Force Health Care Rate Hike of 14 Percent in North Carolina

“Had CSR payments not been eliminated, Blue Cross NC’s final rate for ACA customers’ average would have been near zero.” -Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina statement

As has been recently reported, health care premiums for Blue Cross Blue Shield customers in North Carolina are slated to rise 14.1%, on average. “Had CSR payments not been eliminated, Blue Cross NC’s final rate request for ACA customers’ average would have been near zero,” Blue Cross said in a statement.

While President Trump and Republicans in Congress have been unable to repeal the health care law, they have been doing everything they can to sabotage the marketplace by:

  • President Trump defunding the law’s mandatory cost-sharing-reduction payments, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office said would increase rates by 20% in 2018 and 25% in 2020.
  • Cutting 90% of the funding for advertising to support open enrollment.
  • President Trump signing an Executive Order on his first day in office demanding that agencies dismantle as much of the law as they can.
  • Signing an Executive Order to create garbage insurance plans which will raise premiums, slash coverage and end protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Pursuing partisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has created uncertainty in the market and led to higher premiums.

Now people are facing the consequences.

“Everyone who gets a bill from their insurer for higher health care costs next year can thank President Trump and Republicans in Congress for the sabotage that led to this,” Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse said. “Their repeated threats, uncertainty and sabotage of our health care system is taking a toll on real people’s lives in North Carolina. Your health care bills next year should say ‘brought to you by Donald Trump and the GOP.’ It’s time for the GOP to stand up against this sabotage and lower premiums by voting to require the federal government to make CSR payments.”

EXPERTS AND INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS AGREE THAT TRUMP’S SABOTAGE IS RAISING COSTS:

Center for American Progress: “The Center for American Progress estimates that uncertainty around CSRs and mandate enforcement will raise 2018 premiums for benchmark coverage an extra $1,061 annually for a 40-year-old and $2,491 annually for a 64-year-old.” [Center for American Progress, 8/16/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Benchmark Premiums Would Increase By 19 Percent On Average If Cost-Sharing Subsidies Were Unpaid.” [KFF, 4/6/17]

Urban Institute: “We Find That Premiums For Silver Marketplace Plans Would Increase $1,040 Per Person On Average.” [Urban Institute, 1/16]

Commonwealth Fund: “Eliminating Cost-sharing Reductions Could Destabilize Insurance Markets.” [Commonwealth Fund, 4/28/17]

Urban Institute: “A Precipitous Drop In Insurer Participation Is Even More Likely If The Cost-sharing Assistance Is Discontinued.” [Urban Institute, 12/6/16]

Julie Mix Mcpeak, President-Elect Of The National Association Of Insurance Commissioners And Tennessee State Insurance Commissioner: “I Am Very Fearful That We’ll Have Insurers Make A Decision To Leave Markets As A Result Of The Uncertainty.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner: “Failing To Make Payments To Insurers For Cost-sharing Reductions Would Force Insurers To Request A Statewide Average 20.3 Percent Increase Rather Than 8.8 Percent Statewide Average That Was Filed With The Department In May.” [Press Release, 7/31/17]

Mike Kreidler, Washington State Insurance Commissioner: “The Current Federal Administration’s Actions — Such As Not Committing To Reimburse Insurers For Cost-sharing Subsidies And Not Enforcing The Individual Mandate — Appear Focused Only On Destabilizing The Insurance Market.” [Statement, 6/19/17]

Lori Wing-Heier, Director, Alaska Division Of Insurance: “It Is Expected That Health Care Premiums Would Jump As High As 20 Percent If Trump Follows Through With His Threat To Cut Subsidies.” [Fairbanks News-Miner, 8/14/17]

Dave Jones, California State Insurance Commissioner: “President Trump Appears On A Mission To Destroy Health-Insurance Markets By Creating Instability Through His Own Actions And Thereby Depriving Millions Of Americans Of Health-care Coverage.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/17]

Marguerite Salazar, Colorado’s State Insurance Commissioner: “Commissioner Marguerite Salazar Said The Trump Administration Threatens The Whole Market. ‘My Fear Is It May Collapse.’” [Los Angeles Times, 5/18/17]

Craig Wright, Chief Actuary, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation: “If The Subsidies Are Not Funded, Carriers Would Face The Prospect Of Large Financial Losses.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Eric A. Cioppa, Superintendent Of The Maine Bureau Of Insurance: “If They Don’t Get A Subsidy, I Fully Expect Double-Digit Increases For Three Carriers On The Exchanges Here.” [New York Times, 6/4/17]

National Academy for State Health Policy: “The Federal Government Must Commit To Funding CSR Payments In Order To Lower Rates And Stabilize Carrier Participation.” [Letter from State-based Marketplace Directors, 8/30/17]

Dan Hilferty, President And CEO, Independence Blue Cross: “We Firmly Believe Your Coverage Will Be There For 2018, If The Federal Government, Congress And President Commit To, Fund The Subsidies During An Interim Period Of Time.” [CNN, 7/19/17]

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.” [Blog Post, 6/30/17]

Danielle Devine, Michigan Director Of Operations, Meridian Health Plan: “The Political Climate Continues To Make It Difficult To Price And The Uncertainty Over The Future Of The Subsidies Creates The Largest Reason For Significant Rate Increases.” [Crain’s Detroit Business, 6/14/17]

Rick Notter, Director Of Individual Business, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan: “If We Don’t Have That Cost-Sharing (Subsidy), We Have To Make Up The Difference And The Only Way For Us To Do That Is With A Higher Rate.” [Detroit Free Press, 6/14/17]

Dr. Mario Molina, Former CEO, Molina Healthcare: “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]

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.” [Washington Post, 5/26/17]

Kurt Giesa, Practice Leader, Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting: “Our Modeling Shows That This Uncertainty, If It Remains, Could Lead Payers To Submit Rate Increases Between 28 And 40 Percent, And More Than Two-thirds Of Those Increases Will Be Related To The Uncertainty Around CSR Payments And Individual Mandate.” [Oliver Wyman, 6/14/17]

Speaker Ryan, Here Is a Homegrown Reason to Oppose Trump’s Sabotage

In response to the bipartisan agreement in the Senate to restore funding for cost-sharing reductions and prevent the 20% health care costs increase, Speaker Ryan still can’t find a reason to support it and abandon his health care repeal:

SHOT:

@MEPFuller — “‘The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare,’ Ryan spox Doug Andres says.”

Maybe the Speaker should try reading his hometown newspaper?

CHASER:

Wisconsin State Journal: Obamacare insurance rates to rise 36 percent in Wisconsin next year

“Health insurance premiums on the Affordable Care Act exchange will go up an average of 36 percent in Wisconsin next year, but government subsidies will offset the increases for most people, a state official said Thursday.

A major reason for the stiff hikes is that President Donald Trump’s administration hasn’t said if it will continue certain payments to insurers, said J.P. Wieske, deputy commissioner of insurance.”

Trump Chooses Sabotage Over Solutions, What Will Congress Do?

Trump Chooses Sabotage Over Solutions, What Will Congress Do?

After President Trump came out against the bipartisan health care reform and market stabilization deal negotiated by Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Sadly, President Trump has flip flopped and now opposes bipartisan solutions that strengthen our health care markets and keep costs from going up even higher.

“The American people are demanding Washington put partisanship aside and work across the aisle to protect people’s health care and reduce costs. Even though this deal addresses only a small part of President Trump’s sabotage, it’s a good first-step to undo his decision on CSRs that is forcing health care costs up 20% across the country.

“Republicans in Congress now have to pick which side they’re on. Do they let President Trump continue to sabotage health care and force up costs for people or do they back this deal and stand up to his sabotage. If they do not stand up to this sabotage they will be responsible for higher premiums and worse coverage.”

Protect Our Care Statement On Alexander-Murray Stabilization Agreement

In response to the news of a bipartisan health care agreement, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

In response to the news of a bipartisan health care agreement, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“For the last ten months, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have relentlessly pursued an agenda of partisan repeal and sabotage. The result has been higher premiums, significant threats to the insurance markets and the undermining of open enrollment.

“The American people have been hungry for Republicans and Democrats to come together in a bipartisan way to stabilize the market and ensure the American people have affordable access to health care. While we still need to review the details, the reported Alexander-Murray bill is an important bipartisan first step, and we thank them for their work.

“Now Congress needs to move immediately to pass this agreement, without any amendments that weaken the progress that has been made. The only viable path forward on health care is a bipartisan one. It’s time for President Trump and Republicans to abandon partisan repeal and their deliberate sabotage of health care.”

Protect Our Care Announces National Campaign to Stand Up to Trump Sabotage of Health Care

New campaign calls on members of Congress to stand up to Trump’s attempts to sabotage our health care.

Newly-released report shows 26 of 35 states that have released rate information attribute rate increases to uncertainty created by the Trump administration.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 17, 2017 — Protect Our Care today announced a national campaign to stop President Trump and Congressional Republicans from sabotaging our health care. After failing to pass a series of disastrous health care repeal bills this year, President Trump is determined to achieve repeal by taking administrative action to undermine the current law and open enrollment. Trump’s actions will raise health care premiums, deny access to health care for millions of Americans and significantly threaten the collapse of the individual insurance market. It’s time for Republicans in Congress to stand up to sabotage and protect health care for millions of Americans.

In his latest act of sabotage, President Trump cancelled cost-sharing reduction (CSRs) funds which keep out-of-pocket costs low for millions of Americans. The decision has thrown the individual insurance market into further chaos and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will result in coverage losses and premiums soaring by 20 percent next year, and will spike the national debt by nearly $200 billion by 2026.

The American people have overwhelmingly rejected health care repeal and made it clear they want Congress and the Trump Administration to work across party lines to keep what works and fix what doesn’t in the Affordable Care Act. Now is the time for Republicans to stand up to Trump’s sabotage and work to improve health care for millions of Americans. If not, they will own all the consequences of higher premiums and worse coverage.

“President Trump has made it clear he will do everything he can to sabotage our health care. The President’s repeated and blatant acts of sabotage are deliberately undermining the law, and will destroy the health and financial security of millions of people,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “It is high time Republicans in Congress stand up to this sabotage and they should start by immediately restoring funding for CSRs and open enrollment. We are launching this campaign and taking our message all across the country because sabotaging our health care out of spite is wrong and must be stopped.”

As part of the campaign, Protect Our Care unveiled a new website, StandUpToSabotage.com; released a newly-updated report that shows that the vast majority of states attribute health insurance rate increases to the Trump Administration’s sabotage; and announced a pledge that people can use with Members of Congress to drive the point home that they must take action in Congress to stand up to sabotage. So far this week, the campaign has 17 events scheduled in eight states across the country. A full calendar of events can be found below.

Events in States

So far this week, there are 17 events scheduled in eight states.


###

President Trump Lies Six Times In Two Minutes

This afternoon during a brief statement before the start of his cabinet meeting, President Trump “spoke” about health care. In just two minutes, he lied no less than six times. Don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself…

PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMS VOTERS WILL BLAME DEMOCRATS FOR THEIR QUALMS WITH THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

PRESIDENT TRUMP, IF IT WASN’T CLEAR BEFORE, IT IS NOW: YOU AND REPUBLICANS OWN THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA): “President Trump Is The President. He Is A Republican. And We Control The Congress. We Own The System Now. So We Are Going To Have To Figure Out A Way To Stabilize This Situation.” “‘I am fearful now that the President made this announcement that will destabilize the insurance markets, it will raise premiums for a lot of folks,’ Dent said Friday morning on CNN, adding that it could also cause some Americans to lose their health insurance and prompt insurers to leave the Obamacare marketplace. Dent argued that the Republican Party ‘will own this,” and said that the administration’s move will force Congress to act quickly to pass legislation in order to make cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. ‘President Trump is the President. He is a Republican. And we control the Congress. We own the system now. So we are going to have to figure out a way to stabilize this situation,’ Dent told CNN. “Barack Obama is no longer in the equation. So this is on us. And so I believe his action will force us to enter into some kind of bipartisan agreement on the cost-sharing reduction payments.” [TPM, 10/13/17]

Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY): “If We Stay Where We Are And Do Nothing, I Think This Is Going To Be A Pox On All Of Our Houses.” “Representative Tom Reed, Republican of New York and co-chairman of a bipartisan group of lawmakers called the Problem Solvers Caucus, said Mr. Trump’s decision ‘increased the stakes’ for Congress. More than two months ago, Mr. Reed’s group offered a series of proposals to shore up insurance markets, including funding the subsidies. ‘It’s only going to get worse as this marketplace continues to destabilize,’ Mr. Reed said. ‘If we stay where we are and do nothing, I think this is going to be a pox on all of our houses.’” [New York Times, 10/13/17]

“The Pottery Barn Rule Comes To Mind: You Break It, You Own It.” “This is not ‘letting’ Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces. The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

“Trump’s Not Going To Be Able To Avoid Blame For Kneecapping Obamacare.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

“After Months Of Pinning The Blame For Obamacare’s Shortcomings On Democrats And Watching His Own Party Fail To Act, President Donald Trump Just Took Ownership Of A Struggle That’s Consumed Republicans For Seven Years.” “After months of pinning the blame for Obamacare’s shortcomings on Democrats and watching his own party fail to act, President Donald Trump just took ownership of a struggle that’s consumed Republicans for seven years. Trump’s decision late Thursday to end government subsidies to insurers to help lower-income Americans afford to use their coverage under the Affordable Care Act was the most drastic step he’s taken to undermine his predecessor’s signature achievement. It also lobbed a live bomb into the laps of Republicans lawmakers 13 months before congressional elections after he publicly berated the party’s Senate leadership for being unable to keep a longstanding promise to repeal the law.” [Bloomberg, 10/13/17]

PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMED HIS DECISION TO CUT OFF CSR PAYMENTS IS THE REASON REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ARE WORKING TOGETHER

HOWEVER, JUST LAST MONTH, THE WHITE HOUSE CALLED OFF A BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATION BETWEEN SENATE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS

“House Speaker Paul Ryan And The White House Have Informed Senate Republican Leaders That They Oppose A Bipartisan Plan To Stabilize Obamacare Being Written In The Senate.” “House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate, according to Trump administration and congressional sources, in a clear bid to boost the Senate’s prospects of repealing the health law.” [Politico, 9/19/17]

“President Donald Trump Will Oppose Any Congressional Attempts To Reinstate Funding For Obamacare Subsidies.” [Politico, 10/13/17]

PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMS HE WANTS TO HELP MORE PEOPLE

HIS DECISION WILL RESULT IN ONE MILLION PEOPLE LOSING COVERAGE NEXT YEAR AND PREMIUMS RISING — ALL WHILE INCREASING THE FEDERAL DEFICIT

Congressional Budget Office: One Million People Will Lose Coverage In 2018 If CSR Payments Are Halted. [CBO, 8/15/17]

Congressional Budget Office: Average Premiums Would Rise By 20 Percent Next Year, And Would Remain 25 Percent Higher Than They Would Be If CSRs Were Paid In 2020 And Beyond. “Under this policy, average premiums for the second-lowest-cost silver plan offered through the marketplaces for single policyholders would be about 20 percent higher in 2018 than the premiums projected in CBO’s March 2016 baseline, mainly because gross premiums alone, rather than premiums in combination with CSR payments, would have to cover the insurer’s share of enrollees’ health care costs. In 2020 and subsequent years, by CBO and JCT’s estimates, the premiums for such benchmark plans would be about 25 percent higher than under the baseline.” [CBO, 8/15/17]

Congressional Budget Office: Failure To Make CSR Payments Will Increase The Federal Deficit By Nearly $200 Billion. “CBO and JCT estimate that, on net, adopting this policy would increase the federal deficit by a total of $194 billion over the 2017–2026 period.” [CBO, 8/15/17]

PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMS VOTERS WILL BLAME DEMOCRATS FOR RISING PREMIUMS

HOWEVER, VOTERS KNOW THAT WHILE PRESIDENT TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO REPEAL THE HEALTH CARE LAW, THEY HAVE BEEN DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO SABOTAGE THE MARKETPLACE

  • President Trump defunded the law’s mandatory cost-sharing-reduction payments, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office said would increase rates by 20% in 2018 and 25% in 2020.
  • Cut 90% of the resources to support open enrollment.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order on his first day in office demanding that agencies dismantle as much of the law as they can.
  • President Trump Signed an Executive Order to create garbage insurance plans which will raise premiums, slash coverage and end protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Pursued partisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has created uncertainty in the market and led to higher premiums.

Now people are facing the consequences.

PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMS COST-SHARING REDUCTION (CSR) FUNDS CONTRIBUTE TO INSURANCE COMPANY PROFITS

ACTUALLY, CSR PAYMENTS ARE USED TO REIMBURSE ISSUERS WHO ASSIST CERTAIN MARKETPLACE ENROLLEES WITH THEIR OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS

Kaiser Family Foundation: “The ACA Requires Insurers To Offer Plans With Reduced Patient Cost-Sharing…To Compensate For The Added Cost To Insurers Of The Reduced Cost-Sharing, The Federal Government Makes Payments Directly To Insurance Companies.” “The ACA requires insurers to offer plans with reduced patient cost-sharing (e.g., deductibles and copays) to marketplace enrollees with incomes 100–250% of the poverty level. The reduced cost-sharing is only available in silver-level plans, and the premiums are the same as standard silver plans. To compensate for the added cost to insurers of the reduced cost-sharing, the federal government makes payments directly to insurance companies…If the CSR payments end…insurers would face significant revenue shortfalls this year and next.” [KFF, 4/25/17]

PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMS VOTERS SUPPORT REPUBLICAN PLANS TO REPEAL HEALTH CARE

HOWEVER, POLLING OVERWHELMINGLY SHOWS THAT PEOPLE WANT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO COME TOGETHER AND OFFER COMMON SENSE FIXES, NOT A PARTISAN HEALTH CARE REPEAL BILL

“A Whopping 71 Percent Of Americans Said They’d Rather See Trump Doing Everything He Possibly Could To Make Health Insurance Exchanges That Are Currently In Place Under Obamacare Work.” “A new poll conducted by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released on Friday found 66 percent of Americans thought it was more important for Trump and Congress to work on legislation that would stabilize the current marketplaces opposed to continuing efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Although more Democrats (85 percent) wanted Trump to work on stabilizing Obamacare than Republicans (51 percent), a whopping 71 percent of Americans said they’d rather see Trump doing everything he possibly could to make health insurance exchanges that are currently in place under Obamacare work. Only 21 percent of adults agreed that Trump should let the law fail in an attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.” [Newsweek, 10/14/17]

“Every Single Poll…Found Opposition Outweighing Support By More Than 20 Percentage Points.” “On average, 55 percent of Americans opposed the GOP proposals to replace Obamacare while 22 percent supported them, according to an average of health-care polls tracked by PollingReport, which we compiled starting in March. Negative reactions to Republican repeal efforts have been strikingly consistent. Polls have asked about GOP proposals using a wide range of wordings, but every single poll tracked by the PollingReport found opposition outweighing support by more than 20 percentage points. Web-based polls not tracked by PollingReport found narrower margins, though support has consistently trailed opposition.” [Washington Post, 7/28/17]

“61 Percent Of Respondents Want Obamacare Fixed Instead Of Repealed And Replaced.” “A majority of Americans wants lawmakers to keep and fix ObamaCare rather than replace it with a Republican alternative, according to a new poll. The ABC/Washington Post poll found that 61 percent of respondents want ObamaCare fixed instead of repealed and replaced. Seventy-nine percent said President Trump should make ObamaCare work instead of letting it fail, as he has previously threatened.” [The Hill, 4/25/17]

“The Republican Health Care Effort Is The Most Unpopular Legislation In Three Decades.” “The Republican health care effort is the most unpopular legislation in three decades — less popular than the Affordable Care Act when it was passed, the widely hated Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout bill in 2008, and even President Bill Clinton’s failed health reform effort in the 1990s. That’s the verdict from MIT’s Chris Warshaw, who compiled polling data from the Roper Center on major legislation Congress has passed since 1990.” [Axios, 7/7/17]

Trump’s Sabotage of Health Care in the Headlines: You Own This, Donald

In the days following President Trump’s decision to cut off the Affordable Care Act’s funding for reducing out of pocket costs for millions of Americans, paving the way for massive premium increases and potentially sowing chaos in the country’s health care marketplace, the headlines have not been kind. How is his decision being portrayed in the press? Not well, not well at all…

USA Today: Trump sells out your health insurance

New York Times: Trump’s Obamacare Moves Will Deepen Health Inequality

US News & World Report: Trump Has Shattered Health Security

Los Angeles Times: Trumpcare sabotage #1: Trump reneges on Obamacare payments, portending turmoil for consumers and taxpayers

Detroit Free Press: Bleeding the base: Why is Trump targeting his voters’ health care?

The Economist: Donald Trump’s health-care orders will hurt middle-class, self-employed Americans

Associated Press: Pro-Trump states most affected by his health care decision

Los Angeles Times: Trump boasts of ending healthcare subsidies and sending insurance stocks plunging; others not so pleased

Vox: Only 1 in 3 voters approve of Trump’s executive order undermining Obamacare

USA Today: Trump’s move to end insurance subsidies jolts Washington

Mass Live: Gov. Charlie Baker: Trump administration’s move to end ACA cost-sharing reduction payments is ‘the wrong decision’

The Hill: Trump hands Republicans a new ObamaCare problem

Huffington Post: Trump’s Obamacare Sabotage Is Doing Real Damage To American Health Care

MSNBC: Even Republicans aren’t happy with Trump’s health care gambit

Bustle: Why Trump’s Obamacare Subsidies Freeze Will Disproportionately Impact Women

NPR: Trump’s Executive Actions May Mean More Headaches For Struggling Congress

Talking Points Memo: How Trump’s Obamacare Sabotage Sets Him Up For His Own Political Misery

Boston Globe: Trump health care attacks worry GOP

The Tennessean: President Trump’s decision to end ACA subsidy creates fresh uncertainty

Chicago Tribune: Trump’s plan to end Obamacare subsidies stirs uncertainty in Illinois

Associated Press: Susan Collins: Trump should back effort to resume health subsidy

Bangor Daily News: Susan Collins says Trump’s move to end Obamacare subsidies hurts ‘vulnerable people’

NBC News: Gov. Kasich Slams President Trump’s Move on Health Care Subsidies

The Hill: GOP rep breaks with Trump: Cutting health-care subsidies does ‘opposite’ of what he promised

President Trump’s Deliberate Sabotage of Our Health Care Means He and Republicans in Congress Own…

To: Interested Parties

From: Brad Woodhouse, Protect Our Care Campaign Director

Date: October 13, 2017

Re: President Trump’s Deliberate Sabotage of Our Health Care Means He and Republicans in Congress Own The Mess They Created

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This week President Trump and his administration took deliberate actions to sabotage our health care by undermining the insurance markets. On Thursday, President Trump signed an Executive Order that would roll back key protections and result in garbage insurance, raise premiums, reduce coverage and expose millions of Americans again to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

Then later that night, his administration announced it would default on payments that help lower people’s out-of-pocket costs known as cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said failure to make these payments would result in higher premiums of 20 to 25 percent, make insurers leave the marketplace, and add nearly $200 billion to the national debt.

Why is he doing this? The answer is clear: out of spite and political games. He failed repeatedly to pass a so-called “repeal and replace” bill through Congress, so now he is purposely sabotaging the markets. This is repeal by another means, pure and simple. As he recently stated at the Values Voters Summit, “It’s step by step by step…And one by one, it’s going to come down.”

President Trump famously said “the best thing we can do…is let Obamacare explode” and “let it be a disaster because we can blame that on the Democrats.” But as his actions this week lay bare, he is not letting Obamacare fail, he is making Obamacare fail, and more people are realizing he and Republicans now own the mess they’ve created.

Take a look at some of the headlines this week after the administration announced it would no longer pay cost-sharing reductions:

  • Washington Post: Throwing a bomb into the insurance markets, Trump now owns the broken health-care system
  • Washington Post: Trump’s not going to be able to avoid blame for kneecapping Obamacare
  • Vox: Trump’s acting like Obamacare is just politics. It’s people’s lives.
  • NPR: Trump Administration To End Obamacare Subsidies For The Poor
  • Forbes: Trump’s End To Obamacare Subsidies Hurts Patients, Not Insurers
  • Bloomberg: Trump Cuts Off Health-Insurer Subsidy, Threatening Obamacare Chaos

Here Are All the Ways the Trump Administration Is Sabotaging Health Care

The Trump administration’s actions this week to sabotage our health care are not the first. Since taking office earlier this year, President Trump, his administration and allies in Congress, have been doing anything and everything they can to undermine our health care. Their intended goals are to make fewer people sign up for coverage either by making coverage so expensive people drop out, or by not giving consumers the tools they need to get covered, and to force insurers out of the marketplace to force it to collapse.

Here is what they have done so far:

  • On his first day in office, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the administration to find any ways they could to unravel the Affordable Care Act.
  • For the final days of open enrollment in January 2017, the Trump Administration cut 75% of television advertising and all digital advertising that helped people find out about their health care options- resulting in an estimated 500,000 fewer people getting coverage.
  • The Trump administration cut the number of days people could sign up for coverage in half for future enrollment periods, from 90 days to 45 days.
  • The Trump administration cut the outreach ad budget by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million. Advertising is a critical way for people to know when and how they can get covered.
  • The administration plans to be shutting Healthcare.gov down for part of the day on most Sundays.
  • The administration ordered the Department of Health and Human Services’ regional directors to stop participating in open enrollment events. Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director Roy Mitchell said, “I didn’t call it sabotage…But that’s what it is.”
  • The administration has cut in-person assistance and changed the final deadline to sign up.
  • The Trump administration essentially rolled back a rule that would allow employers to deny millions of women free access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Trump administration for months has threatened to stop funding CSRs, only making the payments on a month-to-month basis. Yesterday, they announced they would not be making the October payment.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order that would roll back key protections and result in garbage insurance, raise premiums, reduce coverage and expose millions of Americans again to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

We Pay the Price for Trump’s Sabotage

This may be a political game for President Trump because he wants to get rid of anything President Obama did, but all of us will pay for his spite. As the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said, “Without payment of these cost-sharing reductions, Americans will be hurt.

We are already seeing this in action. Protect Our Care issued a report last week showing that in at least 20 states, insurers had raised their premiums more than they would have because of President Trump’s threat to withhold CSR payments. Who knows how they will react now that he actually did? Some insurers could try to readjust their rates higher or leave the marketplace altogether.

Experts agree, failing to make these payments will mean higher premiums and will explode the national debt.

Studies

  • Congressional Budget Office: Congressional Budget Office says that failure to make these payments would mean people’s health insurance premiums will go up 20 to 25 percent and add nearly $200 billion to the debt over the next decade.
  • Center for American Progress: “The Center for American Progress estimates that uncertainty around CSRs and mandate enforcement will raise 2018 premiums for benchmark coverage an extra $1,061 annually for a 40-year-old and $2,491 annually for a 64-year-old.”
  • Kaiser Family Foundation: “Benchmark premiums would increase by 19 percent on average if cost-sharing subsidies were unpaid.”
  • Urban Institute: “We find that premiums for silver marketplace plans would increase $1,040 per person on average.”
  • Urban Institute: “A precipitous drop in insurer participation is even more likely if the cost-sharing assistance is discontinued.”
  • Commonwealth Fund: “Eliminating cost-sharing reductions could destabilize insurance markets.”
  • Kurt Giesa, Practice Leader, Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting: “Our modeling shows that this uncertainty, if it remains, could lead payers to submit rate increases between 28 and 40 percent, and more than two-thirds of those increases will be related to the uncertainty around CSR payments and individual mandate.”

State Insurance Commissioners and Agencies

Health Care Industry

Americans Will Rightly Hold Republicans Accountable for Sabotage

President Trump and Republicans in Congress might hope that people will blame President Obama and Democrats for rising premiums and limited choices on the marketplace, but that is not the case. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote, “Republicans run the government and that means they are responsible for what happens in health care.”

An April 2017 Kaiser Health tracking poll found that 64 percent of Americans, including ⅔ of independents and a majority of Republicans, said they would blame Republicans and President Trump for any future problems with health care and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) going forward. The same poll found that 74 percent want Trump and his Administration to do what they can to make the current law work — that includes 8 in 10 independents and over half of Republicans.

Moreover, a recent poll by Hart Research Associates found that “nearly two-thirds (64%) of voters believe it is true that Donald Trump is ‘undermining the Affordable Care Act’ and three-in-five (61%) voters believe that he is actively ‘trying to make the Affordable Care Act fail.’ Additionally, 64% say that Trump is ‘playing politics with people’s healthcare,’ including one-in-four (24%) of his own voters. Along similar lines, a 57% majority believe that the president is ‘sacrificing people’s health care in order to oppose Barack Obama.’”

Republicans Can Stand Up to Trump’s Sabotage — Will They?

President Trump doesn’t get to have the final word on this — the courts, Congress and the American people will have the opportunity to be heard as well. For starters, many Republicans in Congress are on the record supporting these cost-sharing reduction payments. Will they stand up to the Trump administration to keep premiums from skyrocketing and adding $200 billion to our debt? Neither Congress nor the American people stood by for that failed legislative effort and there is no reason to stand by now and allow a president to sabotage the American health care system out of spite and pure politics.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “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…No action is not an alternative. We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”
  • Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “Without payment of these cost-sharing reductions, Americans will be hurt.”
  • Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “I think they’re going to have to be paid.”
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “I hope the President will continue to make those payments.”
  • Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Ron Johnson (R-WI): The Senate should “bite the bullet and stabilize those markets.’”
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “Families would be hurt.”
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “So, it really would be detrimental to some of the most vulnerable citizens if those payments were cut off. They’re paid to the insurance companies, but the people that they benefit are people who make between 100 percent and 250 percent of the poverty rate. So, we’re talking about low-income Americans who would be devastated if those payments were cut off, though the threat to cut off those payments has contributed to the instability in the insurance market.”
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “Susan Collins says she’s ‘very concerned’ with Trump’s new ACA EO and decision to do away with CSRs.”
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “As I’ve been saying, the Senate should take a step back and engage in a bipartisan process to address the failures of the ACA and stabilize the individual markets.”
  • House Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK): [On making CSR payments] “My personal opinion is yes.”
  • House Ways And Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX): “We should act within our constitutional authority now to temporarily and legally fund cost-sharing reduction payments as we move away from Obamacare.”
  • House Energy And Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden (R-WA): “I will do everything I can to make sure the cost-sharing reduction payments get made, especially this year where they were promised by the federal government under the contracts…That’s an obligation not only to insurers but also to the people who took on those plans. We cannot leave them high and dry.”
  • Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN): “If we pull the subsidies … I think there would be nobody with a health insurance plan next year.”
  • Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND): “As long as it’s [the subsidies] are part of the law of the land, it’s our job to appropriate the money.”
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): “Cutting Health Care Subsidies Will Mean More Uninsured In My District. @POTUS Promised More Access, Affordable Coverage. This Does Opposite.”
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL): “Cost Sharing Reductions Are Critical To Low Income Americans. Congress Should Guarantee Their Funding Through The Appropriations Process.”
  • Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ): “Now Congress must act and pass the Problem Solvers Caucus health care plan that I have endorsed. It funds the cost-sharing reduction program through the congressional appropriations process and implements free-market policies to improve our health care system and lower medical and insurance costs for all.”
  • Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY): “If Congress doesn’t get it done the people who suffer are the people back home.”