Monthly Archives

July 2018

House Republicans Go Home After Doing Nothing to Lower Premiums, Bring Down Drug Costs or Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C. – Following House Republicans’ failure to pass any legislation to address the real concerns of Americans — continuing protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, lowering premiums, or bringing down the cost of prescription drugs — during their so-called “Health Care Week,” Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“The events of this week show that Republicans are running scared because of the mess they are in with their constituents over health care. As they head home for recess, House Republicans are desperate to distract from the fact that every chance they get, they vote to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions, jack up premiums, reduce coverage, and give kickbacks to insurance companies, drug companies, and the wealthy. House Republicans may try to hide from it, but Americans know what they are doing to our health care — we are living with the consequences every day. That’s why today, the fight to protect our care is as urgent and as energized as it ever was.”

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On ADA Anniversary, Our Leaders Must Protect Health Care for Americans with Disabilities

On the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“Twenty-eight years ago the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush, providing critical rights for the more than 57 million Americans with disabilities. Unfortunately, today’s Republicans seem hell bent on doing everything they can to harm these Americans’ health care through their constant attacks on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Nearly nine million adults with disabilities depend on Medicaid for care, including the more than one in three adults under 65 enrolled in Medicaid who live with a disability, and the ACA provides a lifeline for these individuals by preventing insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and removing annual and lifetime limits on coverage. On this important milestone, we urge leaders to advance bipartisan solutions to the health care concerns of Americans with disabilities, and stop meddling with the Medicaid and health care protections they rely on.”

The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid are Lifelines For People With Disabilities

BY THE NUMBERS:

57 million Americans have a disability. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer deny them coverage, drop their coverage for no reason, or charge them more because of a pre-existing condition.

8.7 million nonelderly adults with disabilities depend on Medicaid for care. Nearly 8.7 million adults enrolled in Medicaid have a disability. Of this group, only 43 percent qualify for social security income.

More than 1 in 3 adults under age 65 enrolled in Medicaid lives with at least one disability.

Nearly 45 percent of adults with disabilities have Medicaid coverage. Medicaid covers 45 percent of nonelderly adults with disabilities, including adults with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and mental illness.

Medicaid covers nearly a third of adults with disabilities. 31 percent of U.S. adults with disabilities have Medicaid coverage.

More than half of adults with disabilities covered through Medicaid earn less than 100 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL). A majority, 52 percent, of adults with disabilities who have Medicaid coverage earn annual incomes of less than 100 percent of the FPL, $12,060 for an individual, and could not afford needed care without the program.

Medicaid helps people who need long-term care to stay in their communities. Of nonelderly people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for long-term care, 80 percent receive community-based care, while only 20 percent receive institutional care.

HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP & CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO DISMANTLE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND MEDICAID:

The Trump Administration’s Department of Justice went to court last month to argue that the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions be overturned. This lawsuit could repeal the ACA and with it, its Medicaid expansion and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including people with disabilities.

President Trump and his administration are pushing junk short-term health plans, that allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is bringing back health plans that are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and designed to suck health people out of the individual market, thus raising premiums for people who depend on the individual market for comprehensive coverage.

President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have repeatedly tried to slash funding for Medicaid and impose per-capita caps on coverage. Last year, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) repeal bill, which included a per capita limit on federal Medicaid spending that would have resulted in huge cuts to Medicaid across states. After failing to pass the AHCA in the Senate, Republicans have continued to launch relentless attacks on Medicaid. Last December, the Trump Administration budget called for  $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid.

The Trump Administration is encouraging states to impose work requirements and other bureaucratic restrictions on Medicaid enrollment in order to deny coverage. Experts warn that work requirements are fundamentally bureaucratic hurdles designed to restrict access to health care rather than increase employment. Previous examples show that requiring enrollees verify their employment or work-related activities will reduce enrollment among those eligible for Medicaid.

Requiring people to work to maintain Medicaid coverage is particularly burdensome for people with disabilities. Though some states are claiming to exempt people with disabilities from their work requirements, these exemptions are narrow and leave many behind. Among those who should qualify for exemptions, work requirements make it more difficult to keep coverage by requiring enrollees provide documentation, testimony, and records to prove they have disabilities.

President Trump and Congressional Republicans are targeting Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest. Last December, President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. How do Republicans plan on paying for it? Speaker Ryan’s answer is clear: “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt.” In an attempt to pay for these tax cuts, last Thursday, House Republicans passed a balanced budget amendment that would slash Medicaid funding by $114 billion in a single year alone.

REPUBLICANS WANT TO REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, WHICH PROVIDED AFFORDABLE COVERAGE AND HEALTH SECURITY TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The Affordable Care Act Prevents Insurance Companies From Charging Americans With A Disability More, Or Denying Them Coverage Altogether. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies were allowed to charge people more or deny coverage simply because they had a pre-existing condition. The ACA banned this practice, requiring that insurance companies offer people coverage regardless of their health status.

Thanks To The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Impose Annual And Lifetime Limits On Coverage. Before the ACA, insurance companies could restrict the amount of dollar amount of benefits someone could use per year or over a lifetime. At the time the ACA was passed, 91 million Americans had health care through their employers that imposed lifetime limits. Many such plans capped benefits at $1 million annually, functionally locking people with complex medical needs out of coverage.

Insurance Companies Can No Longer Practice Medical Underwriting, A Process That Let Insurers Make It Harder For People With Disabilities To Get The Coverage They Needed. Before the ACA, insurance companies could screen applicants for any conditions that might be costly to the company. If someone had condition that was predicted to cost the insurance company more, the insurance company would follow a practice called “medical underwriting” that allowed them to charge the applicant a higher premium, specifically exclude coverage for the condition that was expected to be costly, charge the applicant a higher deductible, or limit the applicant’s benefits (for instance, offer a policy that did not cover prescription drugs).

The ACA Requires Insurance Companies To Cover Basic Health Services. The Affordable Care Act established the ten essential health benefits, requiring insurance companies to cover rehabilitative or habilitative services, hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health services.

MEDICAID IS A VITAL SOURCE OF CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Medicaid Helps People With Disabilities Receive Comprehensive, Consistent Care. “Nonelderly Medicaid adults with disabilities are four times as likely to receive nursing or other health care at home, more than 2.5 times as likely to have three or more functional limitations, and more than 1.5 times as likely to have 10 or more health care visits in a year compared to people with disabilities who are privately insured.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17]

Medicaid Covers A Broad Range Of Preventive And Medical Services. “Through Medicaid, nonelderly adults with disabilities have access to regular preventive care as well as medical care for illnesses and chronic conditions.  States must provide certain minimum services for adults, such as inpatient and outpatient hospital, physician, lab and x-ray, and nursing home services. States also can choose to provide a broad range of optional services, many of which are important to people with disabilities, such as prescription drugs, physical therapy, private duty nursing, personal care, rehabilitative services, and case management.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17]

Adults With Disabilities Are More Likely To Have Medicaid, And Less Likely To Have Private Insurance, Than Those Without Disabilities. “Those with disabilities are about three times as likely to be covered by Medicaid and about half as likely to have private insurance compared to those without disabilities. These differences are influenced by the greater health needs of people with disabilities and the fact that they are less likely to have access to employer-sponsored coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17]

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES DEPEND ON MEDICAID FOR LONG-TERM CARE

Medicaid Provides Half Of Long-Term Care In U.S. “Medicaid provides half the nation’s long-term care. Over the decades, states, CMS, providers and consumers have worked to broaden access to care in home and community based settings, where many seniors and people with disabilities would prefer to live…In 2013, the Medicaid program reached a major milestone: for the first time, the majority of Medicaid spending on long term services and supports (LTSS) was for home and community based services (HCBS) rather than for institutional care.” [Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services, January 2017]

Americans With Disabilities Depend On Medicaid For Community Based Care. Nearly 1.7 million nonelderly people with disabilities rely on Medicaid for long-term care. Medicaid helps the vast majority get the care they need in their communities, rather than an institution. In 2011, 80 percent of nonelderly people with disabilities who used Medicaid were served in their community; only 20 percent were served in institutions. [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17]

Julie Reiskin, Executive Director of ColoradoCross Disability Coalition: Medicaid Helps People With Chronic Disabilities To Access The Care They Need In Their Communities. “It is Medicaid that provides the in-home aid who helps get an adult with quadriplegia out of bed, dressed and able to go to work in the morning. It is Medicaid that provides the in-home occupational therapist who works with the autistic child so she can live at home with her family — not be pushed into an institution.” [Reiskin, The Hill, 6/21/17]

RESTRICTING MEDICAID THREATENS ACCESS TO CARE AND JOBS FOR FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Medicaid Work Requirements Make It Harder For People With Disabilities To Access The Care They Need. “Kentucky’s recently granted waiver does propose limited exemptions for people who are ‘medically frail’ and for those ‘diagnosed with an acute medical condition’ that prevents compliance, but these exemptions won’t keep beneficiaries from falling through the cracks…Arkansas, for example, estimates that just 10 percent of expansion enrollees are ‘medically frail’ — short of the third of non-SSI adult Medicaid enrollees nationwide unable to work because of a disability and far less than the 69 percent of Michigan Medicaid expansion enrollees who report serious chronic conditions that may sometimes prevent them from working.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/26/18]

The Arc: “Cutting Off Medicaid Won’t Help Anyone To Work.” Medicaid specifically covers services, such as attendant care, that are critical to enable people with significant disabilities to have basic needs met, to get to and from work, and to do their jobs. Requiring individuals to work to qualify for these programs would create a situation in which people cannot access the services they need to work without working – setting up an impossible standard.” [The Arc Statement, 1/11/18]

University of Kansas Report: “In Effect, Medicaid Expansion is Acting as an Employment Incentive for People with Disabilities. “People with disabilities are much more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act, new research from the University of Kansas has found. Similarly, the number of those who report not working because of a disability has greatly declined in expansion states…’In effect, Medicaid expansion is acting as an employment incentive for people with disabilities,’ the researchers wrote.” [Healthcare Finance, 7/23/18]

President Trump’s Budget, Which Calls On Congress To Pass Graham-Cassidy, Would Strip Coverage Away From More Than 1.4 Million People With Disabilities. New analysis finds that, even according to conservative estimates, between 1.4 million and 1.8 million nonelderly adults with disabilities would lose vital Medicaid coverage as a result of the bill’s deep cuts, risking a return to widespread institutionalization and pushing people with disabilities—and their family members—out of the workforce.” [Center for American Progress, 9/25/17]

Republican Efforts To Repeal Medicaid Expansion Would Mean 64 Percent Of Medicaid Adults With Disabilities Would Lose Coverage. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion covers 11 million people.  Many of them struggle with a chronic illness or a disability (such as a mental health condition) that wouldn’t, by itself, qualify them for Medicaid.  Only 36 percent of non-elderly Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities receive Supplemental Security Income, which allows them to enroll in Medicaid even without the expansion.  While others may be eligible for Medicaid based on other criteria, many could lose Medicaid coverage under the House bill and wind up uninsured.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 8/29/17]

House Democrats Launch Historic Defense of Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Will Republicans Step Up?

Washington, D.C. – Following the Trump Administration’s decision to use a lawsuit brought by Republican attorneys general and governors in 20 states that would repeal the Affordable Care Act to attempt to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions, women, and people over 50, today House Democrats Jacky Rosen, Steny Hoyer, Richard Neal, Frank Pallone, Jr., Jerrold Nadler, and Bobby Scott introduced a resolution authorizing the House’s legal counsel to go to court and defend our health care law and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“House Republicans have repeatedly said they want to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but at every opportunity they’ve voted to repeal these protections or turned a blind eye to the Trump Administration’s campaign to get rid of them. Now, they have a chance to make it right. The Trump Administration has gone to court to try to strike down protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions including cancer, diabetes and asthma — and passing this resolution would help defend these Americans’ care. If Republicans in the House won’t endorse and help pass this, they’ll once again show they’re on the side of insurance companies rather than everyday Americans. Thank goodness Democrats haven’t stopped fighting for the protections that prevent insurance companies from jacking up premiums for people with pre-existing conditions — or denying us care altogether — because if they had, these protections would be long gone.”

BACKGROUND:

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI): “We believe in giving everybody the ability and the resources to buy affordable health care coverage, including people with pre-existing conditions.” [Politico, 1/27/17]

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “Protecting people with pre-existing conditions isn’t just good policy, it’s a personal mission.”  [The Spokesman-Review, 6/13/18]

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR): “We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions continue to get covered.” [The Hill, 1/26/17]

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ): “Committed to ensuring that individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable coverage options and cannot be denied health insurance. [Tucson Weekly Dispatch, 3/1/17]

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO): “I will protect those with pre-existing conditions… I will maintain that commitment.”  [Politico, 4/13/17]

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI): “I am committed to protecting patients living with pre-existing conditions. it’s only fair. [Holland Sentinel, 2/27/17]

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ): “I have never and will never support legislation” that does not cover pre-existing conditions.  [MacArthur Statement, 4/12/17]

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME): “I have pushed to make certain that those with pre-existing conditions would be covered.[Rep. Bruce Poliquin Press Release, 3/24/17]

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN): “Rep. Paulsen has long supported protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and he continues to do so.” [Star Tribune, 6/23/18]

Rep. John Faso (R-NY): “I support keeping provisions of the ACA dealing with pre-existing conditions.” [Daily Freeman, 2/6/17]

Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA): “I will keep pre-existing conditions.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/18/17]

Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA):  “I have been clear and unwavering in my strong support of ensuring those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health insurance coverage.” [Mimi Walters Tweet, 6/13/18]

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO):  “Ensuring that patients with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance will continue to be one of my top priorities.” “[Rep. Scott Tipton Press Release, 1/27/17]

Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL): “We also need to ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied coverage.”  [Palm Beach Post, 3/9/17]

Rep. David Young (R-IA): “I have always believed patients with pre-existing conditions must have the ability to find safe, secure, and stable coverage.” [Rep. David Young Newsletter, 2/19/17]

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS): People with pre-existing conditions ought to be protected. [Rep. Yoder Facebook Post, 2/21/17]

Rep. David Trott (R-MI): “Patients with pre-existing conditions need to be protected and have access to the coverage they need.” [Rep. Trott, Website, 4/20/17]

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ): Pledged not to support legislation that rolls back coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. [The Hill, 4/12/17]

Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA): “We will protect those with pre-existing conditions.”  [Republican Party of Virginia, 3/10/17]

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE): “Supports coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.” [Omaha World Herald, 3/19/17]

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX): “Health care should be accessible for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses.” [Rep. Culberson Website, 4/20/17]

Kaiser Poll Show Yet Again that Americans Want Supreme Court, Congress to Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C. – This morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its July tracking poll showing that protecting people with pre-existing conditions is the top health issue for voters, the latest of a series in recent months – and the second released this week – showing health care as a top issue in the upcoming elections.

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“Poll after poll has shown the American people want their leaders to continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination, yet Donald Trump and Republicans’ continue with their repeal and sabotage campaign to weaken these protections, raise premiums, and cut coverage. But the American people see this war on their health care and are experiencing the effects of it every day. We will make sure Americans remember who is siding with them, and who is siding with insurance companies making record profits after Republicans cut their care and gave them a huge tax cut, in November.

AMONG THE POLL’S FINDINGS:

  • Protections for people with pre-existing conditions is the top health care issue for voters.
  • From the poll: “This issue cuts across voter demographics with most Democratic voters (74 percent), independent voters (64 percent), and voters living in battleground areas (61 percent), as well as half of Republican voters (49 percent) saying a candidate’s position on continued protections for pre-existing health conditions is either the single most important factor or a very important factor in their 2018 vote.”
  • Sixty-four-percent of voters do not want the Supreme Court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including 71 percent of Independents.
  • A majority of Americans — 56 percent of those polled — say President Trump and his Administration are working to make the ACA fail.
  • A majority — 51 percent — of people living in states that have not yet expanded Medicaid support expansion want their state to expand Medicaid.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

Since Assuming Office, President Trump And Congressional Republicans Have Repeatedly Attempted To Repeal The Affordable Care Act And With It, Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions.

  • The Trump administration just asked courts to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In early June, the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice decided to argue that courts should throw out the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • The Senate Republican repeal bill would have allowed states to waive ACA protections, allowing insurance companies to charge sick patients more.
  • The House Republican repeal bill would have allowed insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions “prohibitively high premiums.”

GOP Sabotage Has Persisted for 18 Months, and Has Caused Massive Premium Increases

  • Last year, Republican sabotage pushed 2018 insurance premiums up by a national average of 37 percent and this year GOP sabotage has resulted in 2019 premium increases in all but two states where the data is available.
  • A new report released this week found that, in 2019:
    • A typical family of four will see a marketplace premium that is $3,110 higher.
    • A 55-year-old couple will see a premium $3,330 higher on average.
    • An unsubsidized 40-year-old will pay an extra $970 on average.
  • Meanwhile, other acts of sabotage would eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and raise costs. View a comprehensive list of acts of health care sabotage here.

A Year After Repeal Defeated in the Senate, Health Care is the Top Issue to Voters, and May be the Issue that Most Influences the Midterm Elections

  • The Kaiser tracking poll finds that continuing protections for people with pre-existing health conditions is the top health care campaign issue for voters across all demographics.
  • A new Protect Our Care-PPP poll found voters will support candidates who want to improve the ACA rather than repeal it, and strongly oppose the Trump Administration going to court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Last month’s June Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found health care to be the top issue for voters, ranked higher than all issues, including the economy and jobs.
  • A June NBC News poll found health care to be top midterm issue.
  • In a May CBS News poll, voters said health care is the most important issue in deciding who to vote for Congress in November.
  • A year ago, ACA repeal bills were among the least popular pieces of major legislation in history. When the House was considering the “American Health Care Act,” (AHCA) polls at the time showed it to be the most unpopular piece of major legislation Congress had considered in decades. Then, the so-called Graham-Cassidy repeal bill had a 24 percent approval, even more unpopular than the AHCA.

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Health Care Champions Take to Senate Floor to Call Out Ongoing Sabotage

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Senators Murphy, Murray, Coons, Menendez, Baldwin and Durbin took to the Senate floor to lay out the comprehensive repeal and sabotage campaign the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans have undertaken in the year since the GOP’s repeal legislation failed. Among the highlights:

Sen. Chris Murphy:

“First, the President set an executive order saying that all of his agencies should take their own actions to unwind the protections of the Affordable Care Act. Then he stopped the marketing for the affordable care act so that less people would know about the options that were available to them. Then the President came to Congress and worked with Republicans to take away one of the most important pillars of the Affordable Care Act, a requirement that healthy people buy insurance — that action alone will result in 13 million people losing insurance and rates going up for 10 million Americans. Most recently the President authorized the junk insurance plans across the country, plans that don’t have to cover mental health, prescription drugs, or maternity care. He then cut funding even deeper for the personnel who help you find what insurance is right for you and instructed the people that remained to push Americans onto the junk plans. Then the President sent his lawyers to court to argue that congress can’t actually protect people with pre-existing conditions because it’s unconstitutional, which would wipe out all of the protections that people enjoy today. And so it’s really no mystery as to why, as the 2019 premium increases are coming out, they are catastrophic… The reason they are passing along enormous premium increases is because of the sabotage run by the President and this Congress.”

Sen. Patty Murray:


“During [the health care debate] I heard personal stories from patients and families all over my state of Washington who were concerned. I heard stories like Julie’s. Julie has a genetic condition, and as a result of that, she has had four different types of cancer. She has had four different organs removed during treatment and she has had her diet severely restricted and her life dramatically changed. But she is a fighter and she had excellent care and she ultimately won each of those four battles with cancer. However, without protections for people with pre-existing conditions, her health care costs could skyrocket. If President Trump had his way, Julie could not get the care she needed, and by the way, she’s not the only one.”

Sen. Chris Coons:

“[The Texas v. United States] lawsuit impacts every corner of America’s health care system and that [this] Administration is not defending the law of the land is a shocking development. It impacts not just those who get their health care through the ACA exchanges. It would impact 150,000,000 Americans who get their health insurance through their employer because it would eliminate protections against lifetime and annual limits on care. It would impact seniors on Medicare who would see increased prescription drug costs. It would impact Americans who depend on free preventive services, cancer screenings, and flu shots because those policies, components of the ACA, would be eliminated. And it impacts young people who would lose their right to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. These are just a few of the devastating impacts if the Texas v. US lawsuit is successful in ripping out what is left of the protections of the ACA. It would have a real and tangible impact on families in my state of Delaware and across our country.”

Sen. Bob Menendez:

“Republicans’ reckless abandonment of families with pre-existing conditions is even more concerning given President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This is a judge with a long history of ruling against consumers, siding with corporate interests, and assailing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. […] Without the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could deny coverage to [children like] 4-year-old Ethan, who is more concerned about which dinosaur to play with than the pacemaker that’s keeping him alive. Before the Affordable Care Act, children like Ethan were blacklisted from insurance companies for life. How do you tell a 4-year-old that his president no longer believes in protecting children like him?”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin:

“The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people’s health care coverage away. They have consistently sent a clear message that they want us to work across the party aisle to make things better and not worse. […] Last year the American people sent a loud message to Washington. I heard it, and they are sending the same simple message today: protect our care.”

Sen. Dick Durbin:

“My wife and I got married. I was in law school. God sent us a beautiful little girl and she had a serious medical problem. We were living here in Washington, D.C., and didn’t have health insurance. And I want to tell you, you never felt more helpless in your life than to be a new father with a brand-new baby who desperately needs medical care and not have health insurance. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. I lived in such fear from that point forward of not having health insurance coverage that I did crazy things like getting health insurance two different places of employment just to make sure I never lost it. It scared me that much. I still remember that fear, and I wonder if the people who are debating this issue about the Affordable Care Act ever lived through it themselves? Because if they did, they wouldn’t be standing here saying we can do away with the Affordable Care Act.”

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New Report Shows Americans Will Spend Thousands of Dollars More on Health Care Premiums Due to GOP Sabotage

Washington, D.C. New data released today by the Center for American Progress (CAP) shows a family of four will be paying an extra $3,000 for marketplace coverage due to Republican sabotage, while House Republicans gear up to advance politically-motivated legislation that will provide no relief for the higher health care costs Republicans have caused American families.

CAP’s analysis — and this shameless political posturing of House Republicans — comes nearly a year to the day after Americans rose up to stop the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the Senate. All this time later, health care remains a top issue for voters because of the GOP’s ongoing campaign to sabotage health care and the higher costs and havoc it has caused all people, but especially those with pre-existing conditions, women, and people over age 50.  

“These bills do nothing to roll back the premium increases caused by the Republican tax bill, the Administration’s relentless sabotage campaign, and the uncertainty in the markets caused by Republicans’ repeated efforts at repeal. The premiums Americans will see next year will be too high by thousands of dollars, on top of the massive increases we are already paying this year because of the intentional, deliberate acts of Republican war on health care. We wish Republicans would work with us to advance bipartisan, popular reforms to reverse the damage they’ve done and bring costs back down for consumers. But as this week’s events show, they are only interested giving themselves political cover before they face their constituents this fall,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

GOP Sabotage Has Persisted for 18 Months, and Has Caused Massive Premium Increases

  • Last year, Republican sabotage pushed 2018 insurance premiums up by a national average of 37 percent and this year GOP sabotage has resulted in 2019 premium increases in all but two states where the data is available.
  • Among the findings in CAP’s report released today, in 2019:
    • A typical family of four will see a marketplace premium that is $3,110 higher.
    • A 55-year-old couple will see a premium $3,330 higher on average.
    • An unsubsidized 40-year-old will pay an extra $970 on average.
  • Meanwhile, other acts of sabotage would eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and raise costs. View a comprehensive list of acts of health care sabotage here.

A Year After Repeal Defeated in the Senate, Health Care is the Top Issue to Voters, and May be the Issue that Most Influences the Midterm Elections

  • A new Protect Our Care-PPP poll released yesterday found voters will support candidates who want to improve the ACA rather than repeal it, and strongly oppose the Trump Administration going to court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • In June, the Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found health care to be the top issue for voters, ranked higher than all issues, including the economy and jobs.
  • A June NBC News poll found health care to be top midterm issue.
  • In a May CBS News poll, voters said health care is the most important issue in deciding who to vote for Congress in November.
  • A year ago, ACA repeal bills were among the least popular pieces of major legislation in history. When the House was considering the “American Health Care Act,” (AHCA) polls at the time showed it to be the most unpopular piece of major legislation Congress had considered in decades. Then, the so-called Graham-Cassidy repeal bill had a 24 percent approval, even more unpopular than the AHCA.

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Final Rates Confirm Pennsylvanians’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive

Washington, D.C. – With final Pennsylvania rate filings for 2019 individual-market health insurance indicating an additional premium increase on top of last year’s 31 percent rate hike due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“For the past year and a half, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have engaged in a deliberate, aggressive campaign to undermine health care and families in Pennsylvania are once again forced to pay the price. Until we stop Republicans’ war on health care, insurance companies will continue to make huge profits and enjoy record tax breaks from Republicans while they charge working families more and more. Washington Republicans should start working on bipartisan solutions to make coverage more affordable, instead of helping their friends in the insurance industry make another buck on the backs of hardworking Pennsylvanians.”

From Pennsylvania Officials:

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf: Increases Come Following “Trump Administration’s Relentless Efforts To Dismantle The ACA.” “Pennsylvanians want and deserve access to the comprehensive health coverage that the ACA provides. Enrollment over the past few years has remained steady, and this fall enrollees will have more choices, despite the Trump Administration’s relentless efforts to dismantle the ACA.” [Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, 7/23/18]

Pennsylvania Department Of Insurance: Small Increases Attributed To “The Department’s Efforts To Maintain Enrollment In The Individual Market,” Highlighted By An Outreach Campaign “To Make Up For Lack Of Marketing From The Federal Government.” “Altman attributes the minimal increases to Pennsylvania’s competitive market and the department’s efforts to maintain enrollment in the individual market despite the federal government’s efforts to shorten the ACA’s open enrollment period and curtail enrollment outreach, while working to achieve affordability for consumers. The Insurance Department launched an outreach campaign to make up for a lack of marketing from the federal government during the 2018 open enrollment season.” [Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, 6/5/18]

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman: “Ongoing Attempts And Recent Proposed Rules Being Considered At The Federal Level To Dismantle The ACA Still Have The Potential To Jeopardize Market Stability.” “However, the ongoing attempts and recent proposed rules being considered at the federal level to dismantle the ACA still have the potential to jeopardize market stability in future years and negatively impact health insurance consumers. We will continue to work to protect the progress we have made, including Pennsylvania’s lowest uninsured rate on record, and make affordability and access our top priorities for consumers.” [Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, 6/5/18]

Protect Our Care Launches New Campaign On One Year Anniversary of Defeat of Health Care Repeal

New Poll Out Today is Latest to Show Health Care is a Top Issue to Voters

New Ad Up on TV Today Reminds Voters That Deeply Unpopular GOP Health Care Sabotage Continues, Urges Them to #RememberinNovember

GOP Accountability Events Scheduled Coast to Coast

Washington, DC – One year ago this week, a bipartisan majority in the United States Senate gave thumbs down to President Trump’s top legislative priority, repealing the Affordable Care Act.

On the one year anniversary, health care is the number issues on voters’ minds, support for the law is higher than ever, and the American people want the Republican war on health care to end. To mark this anniversary:

  • Public Policy Polling conducted a new poll showing voters will support a generic Democratic candidate who wants to keep and improve the Affordable Care Act by 14 points (56% to 40%) over a generic Republican candidate who wants to repeal it.
  • Protect Our Care went up on TV today with a new ad reminding voters that the GOP campaign to sabotage health care and raise costs is alive and well.
  • The Protect Our Care coalition will also be holding events in DC and 14 states throughout the week.

Over the course of the year, President Trump has sadly not abandoned his quest for health care repeal. Instead, he’s launched a year long campaign to sabotage it. While health care remains a top issue to Americans, they are facing significantly higher premiums due to Republican sabotage, President Trump has gone to court to strike down health care protections like those for people with pre-existing conditions and is now trying to install a Supreme Court Justice who could agree with him.

“The stinging defeat of ACA repeal in the Senate may be one of the most irritating moments of Donald Trump’s presidency, but a year later it remains one of the most important moments to the American people. Americans want their elected officials to protect their health care, which means standing up to the sabotage that’s raising health care costs and rejecting the nomination of a justice who is likely to rubber stamp the GOP’s lawsuit to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care.  

The new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey shows that:

  • A majority of voters (56 percent) will support candidates for Congress who want to improve, rather than repeal, the ACA;
  • Nearly two-thirds of voters oppose the Trump administration joining the Republican lawsuit working to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and
  • By double-digit margins, voters (55/42 percent) especially women (60/34 percent) and independents (57/35 percent) trust Democrats over Republicans on health care.

Watch Protect Our Care’s new ad:

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

A Year Later, Health Care is the Top Issue to Voters, and May be the Issue that Most Influences the Midterm Elections

  • A new Protect Our Care-PPP poll released today found voters will support candidates who want to improve the ACA, rather than repeal it, and strongly oppose the Trump administration going to court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • In June, the Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found health care to be the top issue for voters, ranked higher than all issues, including the economy and jobs.
  • A June NBC News poll found health care to be top midterm issue.
  • A May CBS News poll, voters said health care is the most important issue in deciding who to vote for Congress in November.
  • A year ago, ACA repeal bills were among the least popular pieces of major legislation in history. When the House was considering the “American Health Care Act,” (AHCA) polls at the time showed it the most unpopular piece of major legislation Congress had considered in decades. Then, the so-called Graham-Cassidy repeal bill had a 24 percent approval, even more unpopular than the AHCA.

GOP Sabotage Has Continued Despite Repeal Defeat, and Has Caused Double Digit Premium Increases

Don’t Forget: All Four Major Senate Repeal Bills Would Have Eliminated Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions, Cut Coverage And Raised Costs

PPP Poll: One Year After Senate Defeated Trump’s Healthcare Repeal, Majority of Voters Oppose Republican Repealers

From: Anniken Williams, Public Policy Polling

To: Interested Parties

Subject: One Year After Senate Defeated Trump’s Healthcare Repeal, Majority of Voters Oppose Republican Repealers

Date: July 23, 2018

On the one-year anniversary of bipartisan Senate defeat of Trump’s health care repeal, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds that a majority of voters want to support candidates for Congress who oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act.

A majority of voters (56/40) support a generic Democrat for Congress who supports the ACA and wants to improve it, over a generic Republican candidate for Congress who wants to repeal it. This lead expands to 19 points (56/37) with voters over the age of 65.

  • Voters trust Democrats over Republicans and President Trump on health care by 13 points (55/42). This lead grows to 26 points (60/34) with women and 22 points (57/35) with independents.

By an overwhelming 25 points (59/34), people want Congress to “keep what works and fix what doesn’t” in the ACA, not repeal it. That margin grows to 32 points (62/30) with independents.

64% of voters oppose the Trump administration joining the lawsuit (Texas V. U.S.) which would strike down ACA’s protections of health care for people with pre-existing conditions. Only 19% of voters support joining the lawsuit.

  • When voters learn that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would likely support that Trump administration lawsuit, 56% are less likely to support his confirmation.

PPP surveyed 514 registered voters from July 18-19, 2018.  The margin of error is +/- 4.3%. This poll was conducted by automated telephone interviews.

View the full poll here.

Final Rates Confirm Oregonians’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive

Commissioner Confirms Rate Hikes Due to Trump Administration and Washington Republicans Health Care Sabotage

Washington, D.C. – With final Oregon rate filings for 2019 individual-market health insurance indicating potential double-digit premium increases on top of last year’s 20 percent rate hike due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“For the past year and a half, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have engaged in a deliberate, aggressive campaign to undermine health care and families in Oregon are once again forced to pay the price. Until we stop Republicans’ war on health care, insurance companies will continue to make huge profits and enjoy record tax breaks from Republicans while they charge working families more and more. DC Republicans should start working on bipartisan solutions to make coverage more affordable, instead of helping their friends in the insurance industry make another buck on the backs of hardworking Oregonians.”

From the Insurance Commissioner

“[F]ederal actions […] continue to inject instability into our market,” Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi said in a statement. “The positive effect of the Oregon Reinsurance Program provides relief for Oregonians and helps reverse some of the rate increases caused by actions at the federal level.” [Oregon DFR, 7/20]

From the Insurance Companies

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon: “Continued Lack Of Funding For Cost Sharing Reduction Plans” And “Expected Reduction In The Size Of The Individual ACA Market” Responsible For Higher Premiums. “These rate changes are necessary due to the increasing cost of medical care, the continued lack of funding for cost sharing reduction plans, and the expected reduction in the size of the Individual ACA market.” [BCBS, 5/14]

BridgeSpan: “Expected Reduction In The Size Of The Individual Market” Driving Higher Premiums. “The main drivers of the rate change are the increasing cost of medical care and the expected reduction in the size of the individual market. This filing reflects projected claim expenses increasing around 8.3% annually.” [BridgeSpan, 5/14]