Monthly Archives

August 2018

NEW POLL: Alaska Voters Want Sen. Murkowski to Reject Kavanaugh — And Will Remember Her Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing approaches next week, a new survey conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs on behalf of Protect Our Care and Planned Parenthood Action Fund shows that voters in Alaska want Sen. Lisa Murkowski to reject Kavanaugh and stand up for health care protections and women’s constitutional rights, including abortion.

POLL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Alaska voters strongly support current ACA protections, which prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, or pregnancy. In fact, nearly eight in 10 voters (78 percent) believe the Supreme Court should keep those protections in place.
  • Seventy-one percent do not want to see the Supreme Court restrict women’s constitutional rights, and 45 percent of Alaska voters believe the right to have an abortion is at risk.
  • Alaskans made clear they will hold Sen. Murkowski accountable for her vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Forty-five percent would view Sen. Murkowski less favorably if she voted for an anti-ACA nominee by a 29 percent margin. By 33 points, voters would view Sen. Murkowski less favorably if she voted for an anti-Roe nominee (49 percent compared to 16 percent).
  • Almost twice as many voters would be less likely to vote for Sen. Murkowski if she voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh (41 percent less likely compared to 22 percent more likely).
  • Fifty-five percent of Alaska voters said they would be very or somewhat likely to contact their U.S. senators regarding Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

Statement from Leslie Dach, campaign chair of Protect Our Care:

“As this poll shows, Alaskans do not want protections for the more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions taken away from them by the Supreme Court, and they want Senator Lisa Murkowski to vote ‘no’ on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Senator Murkowski has claimed a commitment to health care, and this nomination may be the truest test of where she actually stands yet.”

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Poll after poll confirms what we already know: Americans want the Supreme Court to protect women’s constitutional rights, including abortion, and Alaskans are no different. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, he would turn the balance of the court against both safe, legal abortion and vital health care protections. We’re hearing from people every day, including our supporters in Alaska, who are worried about losing these constitutional rights and access to care. Sen. Murkowski must continue to stand strong for Alaskans and for all of our health and rights.”

Read the full memo here.

Mike Pence Confirms GOP Still Gunning for Americans’ Health Care

Vice President Follows Republican Senators In Calling for Total Repeal

Washington, D.C. – Tonight in Wisconsin, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters that, “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. And we’ll continue. With Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll go back to that,” joining the list of Republicans this week calling yet again for repeal.

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

“Tonight, Vice President Pence reminded everyone of Republicans’ real goal: attacking the health care of tens of millions of Americans. If Mike Pence and the GOP have their way, protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be stripped overnight; lifetime limits would once again be the norm; and women and seniors would see gender and age taxes applied to their care. The contrast couldn’t be more clear: the same week Tammy Baldwin introduces legislation to stop junk plans and maintain the protections Americans rely on, the Vice President doubles down on the Republican war on health care.”

WHO CALLED FOR REPEAL THIS WEEK?

Vice President Mike Pence: “We Made An Effort To Fully Repeal And Replace Obamacare. And We’ll Continue.” “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. And we’ll continue. With Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll go back to that.” [Twitter, 8/30/18]

Senator John Thune (R-SD): “It Would Be Nice To Have Members Who Enable Us To Pass [Repeal].” “‘It would be nice to have members who enable us to pass it,’” Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) said when asked about the possibility of ObamaCare repeal legislation coming up for a future vote.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Senator David Perdue (R-GA): “I’d Love To Have Somebody Take Care Of [Repeal].” “‘I’d love to have somebody to take care of that,’ Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said of repealing ObamaCare.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI): Hopes Arizona’s Next Senator Will Favor Repeal. “Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he hopes the next senator from Arizona will be a ‘strong ally’ who ‘recognizes that ObamaCare is not a proper solution.’” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “I Want Somebody Who Is For Affordable Health Care, And Right Now Obamacare Is Not Affordable, Nor Is Health Care.” “Cassidy said he doesn’t know whether the Senate will move another comprehensive health-care reform package, but he expects Republican leaders will push ‘piecemeal efforts to make affordable once more that which has not been affordable since ObamaCare passed.’ … ‘I want somebody who is for affordable health care, and right now ObamaCare is not affordable, nor is health care, which is a direct result of ObamaCare,’ Cassidy said.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

The Truth Behind Mike Braun’s Health Care Record

Tonight in Evansville, President Trump will campaign for Mike Braun, a long-time supporter of the GOP repeal-and-sabotage agenda and a proponent of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Braun is also a supporter of the Trump-GOP lawsuit to eliminate the ACA’s protections for 2.7 million Hoosiers living with pre-existing conditions. Here’s a closer look.

Although Braun Has Claimed To Support Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions, the Truth Is:

  • Braun Supports A Lawsuit That Would Overturn Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions. “The Republican, [Braun], however, has also endorsed a Republican lawsuit that would rescind the health care law along with that popular provision.” [Politico, 8/13/18]
  • Braun Is Campaigning On The Repeal Of The Affordable Care Act And Its Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions. On the subject of the ACA, his website reads, “There is no repairing this broken law; the only option is to repeal and replace every word and regulation.” [Braun For Indiana, Accessed 8/14/18]
  • Braun, June 2018: I Will “Fully Repeal” Obamacare. “In the Senate, I will use my business experience and work with President Trump to fully repeal Obamacare and implement free-market solutions that will provide better healthcare for Hoosiers.” [City-County Observer, 7/26/18]
  • May 2018: The Tea Party Has Endorsed Braun, In Part Because He Supports “Repealing Obamacare.” “Our supporters were proud to endorse Mike, because he is a strong supporter of the Penny Plan, term limits, repealing Obamacare.” [Tea Party, 5/9/18]

Why The Truth Matters:

  • 2,745,700 Hoosiers Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. About one in two Hoosiers, 50 percent, lives with a pre-existing condition. [CAP, 4/5/17]
  • 1,382,000 Indiana Women And Girls Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Approximately 1,382,000 women and girls in Indiana live with a pre-existing condition. [CAP & National Partnership For Women and Families, June 2018]
  • 377,100 Indiana Children Already Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Roughly 377,000 Hoosiers below age 18 live with a pre-existing condition. [CAP, 4/5/17]
  • 643,800 Older Hoosiers Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. 643,800 Indiana adults between the ages of 55 and 64 live with at least one pre-existing condition, meaning attacks on these protections significantly threaten Hoosiers approaching Medicare age. [CAP, 4/5/17]

 

 

Protect Our Care Takes the Health Care Fight to Local Communities Across the United States

Coalition that Defeated Health Care Repeal Announces 48-Stop, 23-State Bus Tour

“Care Force One” Will Travel 11,303 Miles Across the Country, Engaging Americans from Coast to Coast in the Fight Against the GOP War on Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Today, Protect Our Care is announcing its first-ever nationwide bus tour. Kicking off in Bangor, Maine on September 24, the bus, “Care Force One,” will head west to Phoenix, Arizona before coming back east, concluding with an event in West Palm Beach, Florida on November 2. The bus will make 48 stops across 23 states, covering a total of 11,303 miles.

“Republicans in Congress, in states and in the White House have spent the past year and a half attacking our health care. Throughout this bus tour, Americans who are sick and tired of the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda will make it clear there’s no hiding from what they’ve done, try as they might, and that we want this war on our health care to end. Now,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care.

The tour will highlight for the public that the Republican war on health care is very much alive, with Republican officials using legislation, regulations and the courts to continue their attacks on protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, for women and older Americans and on  Medicaid and Medicare. Recently pro-repeal Republicans have claimed to support the protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act, even as they work to dismantle them.

The Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda over the past 18 months has included:

  • Supporting legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which threatens protections for women, older adults and people with pre-existing conditions, as well as a whole host of provisions of tens of millions of Americans rely upon for their care and coverage;
  • Pushing regulations that promote junk plans that can discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and refuse coverage of essential health benefits, such as mental health care, emergency care and maternity care, driving up both risks and costs for consumers;
  • Slashing funding for outreach and enrollment assistance, which experts predicted would lead to 1.1 million fewer people enrolled in the health insurance exchanges across the country and raise costs for those who do enroll;
  • Filing a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act; then, the Trump Administration made the shocking decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act and actually agree in part with the plaintiffs, arguing that protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be overturned,
  • Gutting and obstructing the Medicaid expansion, which currently covers 15 million people and serves as a lifeline to rural communities from coast to coast, and
  • Jeopardizing improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs.

At local events across the country, the bus tour will demonstrate that Americans broadly oppose Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda, which has cut health care coverage dramatically and driven up costs for millions. For example, the Center for American Progress estimates that the Republicans’ tax bill and their junk plans regulations will cause health insurance premiums to be $3,110 higher next year for a typical family of four.

Check out when “Care Force One” is slated to come to you, with additional stops being added along the way. Check out protectourcare.org/bus-tour/ for the latest.

Bangor, ME on Monday, September 24, 2018

Portland, ME on Monday, September 24, 2018

Syracuse, NY on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Binghamton, NY on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Philadelphia, PA on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Harrisburg, PA on Thursday, September 27, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, September 27, 2018

Cleveland, OH on Friday, September 28, 2018

Columbus, OH on Friday, September 28, 2018

Wheeling, WV on Monday, October 1, 2018

Charleston, WV on Monday, October 1, 2018

Cincinnati, OH on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Indianapolis, IN on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Lansing, MI on Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Grand Rapids, MI on Wednesday, October 3, 2018

South Bend, IN on Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Milwaukee, WI on Thursday, October 4, 2018

Green Bay, WI on Thursday, October 4, 2018

Madison, WI on Friday, October 5, 2018

Cedar Rapids, IA on Friday, October 5, 2018

Des Moines, IA on Monday, October 8, 2018

Minneapolis, MN on Monday, October 8, 2018

Fargo, ND on Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Minot, ND on Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Billings, MT on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Butte, MT Thursday, October 11, 2018

Missoula, MT on Friday, October 12, 2018

Reno, NV on Monday, October 15, 2018

Las Vegas, NV on Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Phoenix, AZ on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tucson, AZ on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Denver, CO on Friday, October 19, 2018

Kansas City, MO on Monday, October 22, 2018

Springfield, MO on Monday, October 22, 2018

St. Louis, MO on Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Memphis, TN on Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Nashville, TN on Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Richmond, VA on Thursday, October 25, 2018

Raleigh, NC on Thursday, October 25, 2018

Atlanta, GA on Friday, October 26, 2018

Miami, FL on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

West Palm, FL on Thursday, November 1, 2018

West Palm, FL on Friday, November 2, 2018

NEW REPORT: How the Trump-GOP Lawsuit and the Next Supreme Court Justice Could Take Away Your Health Care

Protect Our Care Details What’s at Stake in Texas Case and the Endless Republican Attack on People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C. Heading into two monumental moments in health care next week — hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, beginning September 4, and a hearing on Texas, et al. v. United States, et al in a federal district court on September 5 — Protect Our Care released a new report on the relentless GOP attack on health care and people with pre existing conditions.

“As this report shows, if you are a woman, if you’re over 50, if you’re on Medicaid, or if you have a pre-existing condition, the Republican lawsuit in Texas and the next Supreme Court justice will   determine whether you will continue to have health care,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care. “This report shows just how much Americans have to lose if Trump and his Republican allies successfully use their power and the courts to take away people’s health care.”   

Included in the report:

  • What life was like for people with pre-existing conditions before the ACA
  • How Texas v. United States could take us back
  • How Texas v. United States fits in with the broader Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda
  • Who stands to be harmed by the lawsuit, on a state by state basis
  • How the latest Republican promise to protect people is a scam

Read the report, “The Relentless Republican War on People with Pre-Existing Conditions: The Lone Star Edition,” here.

Final Rates Confirm Floridians’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive

Washington, D.C. – Today, Florida announced final rates for 2019 individual-market health insurance plans, which indicate a 5.2 percent premium increase, in contrast to the average nationwide 4.3 percent decrease that Brookings Institution analysts predicted would occur absent GOP sabotage, on top of last year’s 45 percent rate hike due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“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 Florida 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 Floridians.”

From the Insurance Companies:

Cigna: “The Most Significant Factors Requiring The [30 Percent] Increase” Include “Elimination Of The Individual Mandate Penalties” And “Anticipated Changes To Regulations Regarding Short Term Medical And Association Health Plans That Will Impact The Affordable Care Act Risk Pool.” [Cigna, 6/20/18]

Molina Healthcare: Repeal Of Mandate Driving Up Rates. “The individual mandate penalty will not be enforced for the 2019 plan year, resulting in younger and healthier members dropping coverage. In addition, the other Non-ACA compliant alternative plan availability will further reduce the overall enrollment of marketplace.” [7/20/18]

From the Experts:

Brookings Analysis Estimates That Individual Market Premiums Would Decrease If Not For GOP Sabotage. Among its key findings:

  • Estimates That Average Premium Would Fall By 4.3 Percent In 2019 In Stable Policy Environment. “I estimate that the nationwide average per member per month premium in the individual market would fall by 4.3 percent in 2019 in a stable policy environment.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Insurance Companies’ Revenues Will Far Exceed Their Costs In 2018. “I project that insurers’ revenues in the ACA-compliant individual market will far exceed their costs in 2018, generating a positive underwriting margin of 10.5 percent of premium revenue. This is up from a modest positive margin of 1.2 percent of premium revenue in 2017 and contrasts sharply with the substantial losses insurers incurred in the ACA-compliant market in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The estimated 2018 margin also far exceeds insurers’ margins in the pre-ACA individual market. ” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Absent Republican Sabotage, Average Premiums For ACA-Compliant Plans Would Likely Fall In 2019. “In this analysis, I define a stable policy environment as one in which the federal policies toward the individual market in effect for 2018 remain in effect for 3 2019. Notably, this scenario assumes that the individual mandate remains in effect for 2019, but also assumes that policies implemented prior to 2018, like the end of CSR payments, remain in effect as well. Under those circumstances, insurers’ costs would rise only moderately in 2019, primarily reflecting normal growth in medical costs.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]

Protect Our Care Calls on Senate to Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions and Pass Sen. Baldwin’s Resolution

Legislation Would Stop Administration’s Expansion of Junk Plans in its Tracks, Retain Protections for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions and More

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and a coalition of 29 other Senators  introduced a resolution to block insurers from selling the Trump Administration’s short-term, junk insurance plans that remove protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions and fail to cover essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health treatment and prescription drugs. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“As Senate Republicans continue to push new legislation that takes health care away from people with pre existing conditions in a cynical, election season legislative scam, Senator Baldwin and her colleagues are showing true leadership by working to stop President Trump’s expansion of junk insurance plans in its tracks. If the GOP truly cared about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, they would join their colleagues on this resolution in taking concrete action to preserve the protections and essential health benefits that tens of millions of Americans depend on — and they would do so immediately.”

BACKGROUND:

Short-Term Plans May Exclude Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions. “Policyholders who get sick may be investigated by the insurer to determine whether the newly-diagnosed condition could be considered pre-existing and so excluded from coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

  • As Many As 130 Million Nonelderly Americans Have A Pre-Existing Condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]
  • One in 4 Children Would Be Impacted If Insurance Companies Could Deny Coverage Or Charge More Because Of A Pre-existing Condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

Junk Plans Mean Higher Premiums For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. By promoting short-term policies, the administration is making a trade-off: lower premiums and less coverage for healthy people, and higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions who need more comprehensive coverage.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

Short-Term Junk Plans Can Refuse To Cover Essential Health Benefits. “Typical short-term policies do not cover maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health care, preventive care, and other essential benefits, and may limit coverage in other ways.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

Under Many Short-Term Junk Plans, Benefits Are Capped At $1 Million Or Less. Short-term plans can impose lifetime and annual limits –  “for example, many policies cap covered benefits at $1 million or less.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

For more information, see Protect Our Care’s fact sheet on short-term junk plans.

On SCOTUS Hearings Eve, New Ads Preview Reality If Collins Refuses To Stand Up for Mainers

New TV Ad in Maine Previews a Scary Future When the ACA is Struck Down by a Court Hostile to Health Care

Radio Ads in Maine and Alaska Highlight ‘Side Effects’ of Justice Kavanaugh for People with Pre-existing Conditions Like Cancer

Washington, D.C. – In the latest phase of its campaign to educate the public about what’s at stake for health care in the Supreme Court, Protect Our Care is launching new television and radio ads in Maine and Alaska urging constituents to ask Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

  • The new TV ad in Maine shows the scary future we could face if Justice Brett Kavanaugh sides with the Trump Administration and casts the deciding vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and its protections for 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • Radio ads up in Maine and Alaska highlight the impact Kavanaugh’s vote could have on hundreds of thousands of state residents living with pre-existing conditions.

Watch the new TV ad airing in Maine:  

Listen to the radio ads airing all week in Alaska and Maine.

The new ad campaign comes after two months of activity in the Senators’ states and in DC — including this past weekend’s massive 50-state Unite for Justice Day of Action — where constituents have implored the Senators to stand up for their health care and oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court. The groundswell of opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination is borne out by poll after poll showing weak support for Kavanaugh, making him the most unpopular Supreme Court nominee in three decades, less popular than Harriet Miers, whose nomination was withdrawn. In fact, a new Protect Our Care-PPP poll released last week found that just 42 percent of Mainers want Sen. Collins to confirm Judge Kavanaugh and that a vote to confirm him would harm Sen. Collins’ re-election prospects.

“Americans do not want protections for the more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions taken away from them by the Supreme Court, but President Trump does. And as we head into the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings next week, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski need to decide if they agree,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care. “Senators Collins and Murkowski have claimed a commitment to health care — this nomination may be the truest test of where they actually stand yet.”

FRAUD ALERT: New GOP Proposal Falsely Claims to Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Last week, 10 Senate Republicans falsely claimed they had a new bill that would ensure protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act survive a Trump-GOP lawsuit to dismantle them.

In reality, the bill doesn’t. In fact, it says that if you have a pre-existing condition like cancer, asthma, or diabetes, insurance companies can specifically refuse to cover the health care you need. As The Hill points out, “[…]the bill would allow insurers to exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions. Premiums could also vary based on age, gender, or occupation — all of which is currently prohibited under [the ACA].”

Policy Experts Agree the New GOP Bill — Drafted by Three Chief Architects of Senate Repeal (Senators Cassidy, Graham, and Heller) — Will Not Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions:

Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation: Bill “A Mirage.” “‘If the goal is to protect people with pre-existing conditions, the bill is a bit of a mirage,’ said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care research group… Under the bill, insurers could not decline coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, Levitt said, but it would allow insurers to exclude coverage for anything related to those conditions. ‘You don’t have to be real creative to imagine how this might work. These pre-existing condition exclusions were typical before the ACA.’” [Charlotte News & Observer, 8/24]

Aisling McDonough, Senate Health Policy Adviser: “Let’s Say You Have Cancer. Under This Bill, You Can Buy Health Insurance, But That Plan Doesn’t Have To Cover Your Treatment.” [Twitter, 8/24]

Levitt: “The Big Loophole Is That It Would Allow Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions.” “‘It prohibits individual premiums from varying based on health, but allows them to vary based on age, gender, occupation, and leisure activities. It would allow premium variation based on health in the small business market,” Levitt said in an e-mail. ‘The big loophole is that it would allow pre-existing condition exclusions, which were common in individual market plans before the ACA. An insurer would have to give you insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, but it could exclude any services associated with your pre-existing condition,’ he said. ‘This would make protections for people with pre-existing conditions a bit of a mirage.’” [Insurance Journal, 8/27]

Levitt: Even Prescription Drug Coverage Could Be Denied. “Under the measure, insurers would still be able to refuse to cover certain services or prescription drugs for patients with pre-existing conditions, said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president for health reform at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.” [Roll Call, 8/24]

Chris Sloan, Avalere Health: Bill Allows Insurance Companies To “Effectively Discriminate.” “Really this just prevents insurance companies from saying ‘no you can’t buy this coverage’ but this allows the opportunity to say no through price or through benefits… You can make a product so expensive based on medical history, based on gender, based on age, or based on not covering something that someone needs that they can’t afford — then you’ve effectively discriminated against them.” [ThinkProgress, 8/24]

So, Let’s Call This Bill What It Is:

“A mirage,” says Larry Levitt with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“An election season scam,” says Protect Our Care.

“Shameful,” says Health Care For America Now.

“A fraud,” writes Jeffrey Young for the Huffington Post.

Instead of Pushing Scam Bills, Senators Could Actually Support People with Pre-existing Conditions By Doing the Following:

  1. Support the Senate Democrats’ resolution that would allow the Senate to defend pre-existing condition protections in court. This summer, the Trump Administration refused to defend against a lawsuit brought by twenty conservative states aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Last month, Senate Democrats introduced a resolution that would authorize the Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in the lawsuit and defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  2. Join the Senate Democrats’ effort to overturn Trump administration’s junk plan rule that lets insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Earlier this month, the Trump Administration finalized a rule that allows insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Experts warn that this move will only increase the cost of comprehensive care, ultimately making it even harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get the care they need. Senate Democrats introduced legislation that would overturn Trump’s rule.
  3. Oppose Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. As cases to overturn the Affordable Care Act make their way through the courts, Senators should come out against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the court, since he has previously criticized Chief Justice Roberts’ decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

Reminder: Republicans Want To Overturn Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions

Senate Republicans Are Trying To Pass A Bill That Would Allow Insurance Companies To Exclude Coverage For Pre-existing Conditions. The bill, sponsored by ten Senate Republicans, would allow insurance companies to refuse to cover services related to a pre-existing condition. For instance, an insurance company could sell someone with cancer health care, but refuse to cover any services related to cancer treatment. Larry Levitt, Vice President of the Kaiser Family Foundation warns that this policy change would make guaranteed access to insurance “something of a mirage.”

Republicans Are Arguing In Court That Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions Should Be Overturned. The Trump Administration and twenty conservative states are arguing in court that pre-existing conditions be overturned. A hearing is scheduled in a federal district court on September 5.

Not A Single Republican In Congress Has Signed On To Proposed Resolutions That Would Give Congress The Authority To Defend Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have introduced a resolution that would enable each house’s respective Office of Legal Counsel to intervene to defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Not a single Republican has signed on.

Since 2010, House Republicans Have Voted To Repeal Or Substantially Alter The Affordable Care Act Dozens Of Times.  House Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Until recently, Republicans bragged about this record. As the Washington Post notes, until this year Rep. Dave Joye’s website read that he had voted more than thirty times to repeal, defund, or delay the ACA.

Last Summer Alone, Senate Republicans Voted On Three Bills That Would Have Meant Meant People With Pre-existing Conditions Pay More. Last Summer, the Senate voted to on three bills that would have weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions — the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act, and the Health Care Freedom Act, also known as “skinny repeal.” Republicans largely supported each of these efforts.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: KEY STAKEHOLDERS OPPOSE REPUBLICAN EFFORTS TO OVERTURN PRE-EXISTING CONDITION PROTECTIONS

American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society Spoke Out Against the Texas Lawsuit: “Striking Down These Provisions Would Be Catastrophic And Have Dire Consequences For Many Patients With Serious Illnesses.” Invalidating the ACA in whole or in part “would be devastating for the millions of Americans who suffer from serious illness or have preexisting conditions and rely on those protections under current law to obtain life-saving health care. If either the plaintiffs’ or the administration’s position were adopted by the court, people with serious illness are likely to be denied coverage due to their preexisting conditions or charged such high premiums because of their health status that they will be unable to afford any coverage that may be offered. Without access to comprehensive coverage, patients will be forced to delay, skip, or forego care. Striking down these provisions would be catastrophic and have dire consequences for many patients with serious illnesses.” [American Cancer Society et. al, 6/14/18]

American Medical Association, The American Academy of Family Physicians, The American College of Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Spoke Out Against the Texas Lawsuit: “​Invalidating The Guaranteed-issue And Community Rating Provisions—or The ​Entire A​CA—Would Have A Devastating Impact On Doctors, Patients, And The American Health Care System As A Whole.” “Congress declined to do what the Plaintiffs ask this Court to do for a reason: the consequences of repealing the ACA would be staggering…Plaintiffs’ proposed remedies . . . would strip health care from tens of millions of Americans who depend on the ACA; produce skyrocketing insurance costs; and sow chaos in the nation’s health care system​…The ACA’s ‘nationwide protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions’ has played a ‘key role’ in allowing 3.6 million people to obtain affordable health insurance. Severing those vital insurance reforms would leave millions without much-needed insurance.” [AMA et. al, 6/14/18]

33 Leading Cancer Organizations Spoke Out Against GOP Bills: “The Senate’s BCRA, Just As The House’s AHCA, Is A Direct Threat To America’s 16 Million Cancer Patients And Survivors Who Rely On Timely And Uninterrupted Access To Comprehensive And Affordable Health Care.” “The Senate’s BCRA, just as the House’s AHCA, is a direct threat to America’s 16 million cancer patients and survivors who rely on timely and uninterrupted access to comprehensive and affordable health care,” said NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso. “With an estimated 22 million losing coverage, severe cuts to Medicaid, and elimination of pre-existing condition protections, this bill is devastating for the American people, especially for anyone with a cancer diagnosis. It is time to end this threat that is causing fear and anxiety throughout the cancer community, and work towards bipartisan solutions to strengthen current law.” [NCSS, 7/13/17]