Monthly Archives

September 2018

Paul Ryan Spreads Lies To Save Face After Working To Dismantle Medicare For Years

Yesterday, Speaker Paul Ryan claimed that Republicans support Medicare. On the topic of health care and entitlement reform, Ryan said: “I think they want to see that we have Medicare on a path to solvency.”

The truth is that Paul Ryan and the Republican Party have attempted to gut Medicare every chance they could:

  1. Paul Ryan, December 2017: “It’s the biggest entitlement we’ve got to reform.” Ryan said: “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit…Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements…In- think the president is understanding that choice and competition works everywhere in health care, especially in Medicare…This has been my big thing for many, many years. I think it’s the biggest entitlement we’ve got to reform.”
  2. Paul Ryan is targeting Medicare and 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, in April, House Republicans passed a budget amendment that would slash Medicare funding by $537 billion over the next decade.
  3. Ryan proposed these cuts after passing a budget resolution last year that cut Medicare by $473 billion. The 2018 budget resolution passed by Republicans in December 2017 cut Medicare by $473 billion.
  4. Ryan has called to transform Medicare into a voucher program, which experts warn would lead to the “demise” of the program. Speaker Ryan has spoken about turning Medicare into a voucher system, and in Fall 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services filed a Request for Information concerning a shift in a “new direction” for Medicare, which Senate Democrats worried might entail a voucher system. Experts warn, and Republicans including Newt Gingrich acknowledge, that such a shift would lead to the demise of traditional Medicare as premiums increase.
  5. Led by Ryan, Congressional Republicans repealed several components of the ACA designed to help keep Medicare’s costs down, effectively driving up costs for the program. By repealing the requirement that most people have insurance, Congressional Republicans knowingly voted for a measure expected to increase the number of uninsured. The 2018 Medicare Trustees Report predicts that this increase will increase the share of subsidies paid to hospitals via Medicare. Similarly, by repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Congressional Republicans took away a mechanism that slowed Medicare cost growth.
  6. A report published by the Medicare Trustees finds that the program is worse-off financially because of Paul Ryan and Congressional Republicans’ actions. In the 2018 Medicare Trustees Report, trustees found that actions taken by President Trump and Congressional Republicans actually push make Medicare less financially stable. The Trustees point to the elimination of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which had been developed to extend the solvency of Medicare and slow cost growth. Without the IPAB, there is no mechanism to achieve those ends. Similarly, Republican tax cuts will reduce income for Medicare. In conjunction, both actions damage the financial stability of Medicare.

Senators, Cabinet Secretaries, Activists to Headline Protect Our Care’s Bus Tour

Kicking off With Sens. Chris Murphy and Angus King, Care Force One Will Travel to 23 States, Engaging Americans in the Fight Against the GOP War on Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Today, Protect Our Care is excited to announce that Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Angus King (I-ME), former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden will speak during Protect Our Care’s bus tour, joining health care advocate Laura Packard on the 1,303 mile journey across the United States. Sen. Chris Murphy will kick off the tour on Sunday, September 23 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, before Care Force One heads north to Portland, Maine with Sen. Angus King. Protect Our Care’s Founder and Chair Leslie Dach and its Executive Director Brad Woodhouse will join this all-star lineup at select stops.

“We’re thrilled to have such incredible health care champions joining us,” said Woodhouse. “Each of these leaders have spent years in the trenches working to expand access to quality, affordable health coverage, and resisting Republican repeal-and-sabotage at every turn.”

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. Thanks to the Republicans’ tax bill and junk plan regulations, a typical family of four will see their health insurance premiums increase by $3,110 next year.

Check out when “Care Force One” is slated to come to you, and visit protectourcare.org/bus-tour/ for the latest information:

Bridgeport, CT on Sunday, September 23, 2018

Portland, ME on Monday, September 24, 2018

Bangor, ME on Monday, September 24, 2018

Albany, NY on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Binghamton, NY on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Harrisburg, PA on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, September 27, 2018

Erie, PA on Thursday, September 27, 2018

Cleveland, OH on Friday, September 28, 2018

Columbus, OH on Friday, September 28, 2018

Parkersburg, WV on Monday, October 1, 2018

Morgantown, 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, 201

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, 201

Miami, FL on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

West Palm, FL on Thursday, November 1, 2018

West Palm, FL on Friday, November 2, 2018

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

Resolution’s Passage Would Stop Junk Plans and Protect Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C. – Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has garnered enough support to force a vote on her resolution to block insurers from selling the Trump Administration’s short-term, junk insurance plans, with 45 Senators signing onto the bill. Now, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, calls on the full Senate to support and pass this bill, which is supported by over a dozen health care and patient advocacy groups.:

“By gathering enormous support for this resolution, Senator Baldwin and her colleagues are once again showing the American people who is fighting for them. Now it’s time for Senate Republicans who all of the sudden claim to be protectors of people with pre-existing conditions to put up or shut up. 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. Republicans’ silence on this resolution is complicity in Trump’s assault on people with pre-existing conditions through the promotion of junk insurance plans.”

 

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

Right Now, The GOP is Actively Pushing A Bill to Weaken Pre-existing Conditions Protections

  • Twenty-eight Patient Groups – Including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, March of Dimes – Oppose the GOP Senate Bill. Writing in opposition to the bill, the groups explain, “it would not ban pre-existing condition exclusions and would remove rating restrictions based on age, gender, tobacco use, or occupation. This means that many individuals could still face higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs and, even if enrollees paid the increased premiums for many months, they could still be denied benefits because of a pre-existing condition. In short, this bill would not replace critical protections in current law.”
  • Americans Could Be On The Hook For Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars Should Existing Pre-Existing Conditions Laws Be Replaced With Those Proposed By Republicans. According to a report in Vox, “An easy illustration: CMS says that lung cancer costs roughly 12 times as much as the average premiums. So if the average premium is $1,000 per month, then lung cancer treatment costs about $12,000 every month. Sickle-cell anemia is eight times the average premium. So is multiple sclerosis. Cystic fibrosis treatment is expected to cost $14,000 if the average premium is $1,000. Those numbers are hypothetical, to be clear, but you get the idea. Americans could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars if their health insurance no longer has to cover their preexisting conditions.”

GOP Senators Have Also Refused to Defend Pre-existing Conditions from the Trump-GOP Lawsuit

  • Not One GOP Senator Has Signed On To Sen. Manchin’s 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. Senator Collins refuses to support the resolution.

Short-term Plans Hurt People with Pre-existing Conditions

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.

Paul Ryan Latest Republican to Call for Return to Health Care Repeal

Last night, Paul Ryan became the latest Republican to call for a return to full health repeal:

Paul Ryan: Good reforms mean that we can better fulfill the mission of these important programs, health and retirement security, without bankrupting the country. And that’s why the kind of reforms we’ve been talking about I think are so necessary.

Jeff Mayers: Ok, but that would depend upon – I mean, the Senate didn’t even agree with you. That would depend on having broader control of Congress than you’ve had.

Ryan: We failed to pass our budget, our entitlement reform bill on health care by one vote in the Senate, that’s correct.

Mayers: So I guess what are the prospects of reigning that in, because –

Ryan: I think the election will have to determine that because, based upon our vote count in the Senate. We keep the House majority in the house, which I think we will, and then you have to have enough of a majority in the Senate to be able to pass heath care reform.

Mayers: But do people in Janesville, do people in Wisconsin – is that what they want? Do they really want their benefits taken away or curtailed?

Ryan: Did I say that?

Mayers: No, I know, but do they –

Ryan: I think they want to see an end to double-digit premium increases. I think they want to see that we have Medicare on a path to solvency. I don’t think they want to see 200 million people get added to Medicare to accelerate its bankruptcy, which is what a lot of people are running for, like Tammy and others. I think if you take a look at our proposals, they would have lowered health care premiums, it would have still protected pre-existing conditions, it would’ve done more to give people more choices.

As a reminder, the so-called American Health Care Act would have:

  • Raised Premiums By Double Digits. ​The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that a key part of the American Health Care Act, repealing the requirement that most people have health insurance and was enacted as part of the GOP tax bill, will premiums 10 percent next year.
  • Imposed An Age Tax – Older Americans Would Have Paid Nearly $12,000 More. ​The American Health Care Act would have imposed what the AARP calls an “age tax” on older Americans by cutting the amount of assistance older people receive and by allowing insurers to charge people over 50 fives times more. Nationally, out-of-pocket costs for older people could have increased by as much as $11,917 by 2026.
  • Increased Premiums for People With Pre-Existing Conditions by Up to $150,000. ​The American Health Care Act would have allowed states to eliminate community rating, meaning insurers would be able to charge people with pre-existing conditions more. This surcharge could have been in the tens of thousands of dollars and even six figures: up to $4,270 for asthma, $17,060 for pregnancy, $26,180 for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 for metastatic cancer.
  • 23 Million Americans Would Have Lost Coverage. ​By 2026, 23 million U.S. residents would have lost coverage under this bill.

Final Rates Confirm Washingtonians’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive

Rate Increase Due to Trump Administration and Washington Republicans’ Health Care Sabotage

Washington, D.C. – Today, Washington State announced final rates for 2019 individual-market health insurance plans, which indicate a 13.8 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 19 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 Washington 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 Washingtonians.”

From the Insurance Commissioner:

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler: We Continue To Face “Targeted Hits On The Affordable Care Act That Increase The Uncertainty.” “We’re doing what we can to hold down costs, but it’s a struggle. Insurers need stability and we’re still facing inaction at the federal level as well as targeted hits on the Affordable Care Act that increase the uncertainty.” [NCW Life, 9/12/18]

From the Insurance Companies:

Molina Healthcare: “An Adjustment Was Applied To The Experience Period To Reflect The Anticipated Change In Morbidity Of The Market-wide Risk Pool Due To The Repeal Of The Individual Mandate.” “An adjustment was applied to the experience period to reflect the anticipated change in morbidity of the market-wide risk pool due to the repeal of the individual mandate. The Washington Marketplace is expected to decrease in size and have a higher average morbidity compared to the experience period. Molina performed an analysis using its own experience data to assess the impact of a subset of the population dropping coverage. The impacted membership included a portion of members with low claims in the previous year, members with higher member premiums, and members who are younger. The market-wide risk pool changes together with higher average morbidity are expected to increase the fee-for-service portion of the experience period allowed claims by 9.7%.” [Office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner, 6/4/18]

Kaiser: “The Rate Changes Shown Are Primarily Driven By The Claims Experience Of The Single Risk Pool, Medical Inflation, And Projected Changes In The Risk Profile Of The Membership Due To The Elimination Of The Individual Mandate.”  [Office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner, 6/4/18]

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]

Trump Administration Sabotages Open Enrollment, Pushes Junk Plans, Attacks Assistance for Navigators Yet Again

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, the Trump Administration announced that it was slashing navigator funding designed to designed to help Americans obtain coverage by 84 percent and pushing enrollment for junk plans that charge people more money for less care and can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“Last year, the Trump Administration cut the open enrollment period in half and slashed advertising by ninety percent. Now the Administration is once again doubling down on their sabotage of American health care by coupling further drastic cuts to the individuals who help Americans enroll with a cynical attempt to push Americans into junk plans which can deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Yet again the Trump Administration is taking active steps to harm health care, and yet again it is the American people who will be left to suffer.”

BACKGROUND:

Junk 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]
  • 1 in 4 Children Would Be Impacted If Insurance Companies Could Deny Or Charge More Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

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 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]

Trump Administration Slashes Grants To Help Americans Get Affordable Care Act Coverage. “The Trump administration has distributed $10 million in grants to 39 organizations that help people enroll in Obamacare, a drop from the 90 organizations that received the awards last year when funding was nearly three times as high. The Trump administration slashed the budget for navigators from $100 million during the final open enrollment of former President Barack Obama’s term to $36 million, and slashed it even further to $10 million this year. Democrats have called the move another instance of ‘sabotage’ against the healthcare law.” [Washington Examiner, 9/12/10]

During The First Open Enrollment Period, 10.6 Million Americans Were Assisted By Navigators. “More than 4,400 Assister Programs, employing more than 28,000 full-time-equivalent staff and volunteers, helped an estimated 10.6 million people during the first Open Enrollment period.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 7/15/14]

For Months, The Groups That Help People Sign Up For Marketplace Coverage Have Been In Limbo. “Local groups that help people sign up for ObamaCare and Medicaid have yet to hear from the Trump administration about their annual federal funding, leaving many in limbo and fearing the grants could be too small or might not come at all…The organizations typically hear from the federal government in April or early May with information about how much money will be available for grants, when key deadlines are and the expected award date. But several navigators contacted by The Hill said they have received no information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services..When asked about the navigator grants, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wrote in an email that HHS did not have any details to share at this time.” [The Hill, 6/20/18]

  • Dan Derksen, Doctor Who Oversees Navigator Program At University Of Arizona: “At a time when people have more questions, it’s very likely there will be fewer people to help them in person.” [USA Today, 6/21/18]
  • Last Year’s Cuts Led University Of Florida Navigator Program To Cut Staff. “Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids & Families navigator group at the University of South Florida, said her organization is bracing for changes. Last year’s cuts forced the Florida group to trim the number of employed navigators. She worries that further cuts and program changes could harm the state’s vulnerable residents who rely on the organization’s services.” [USA Today, 6/21/18]
  • Karen Egozi, CEO Of The Epilepsy Foundation Of Florida: We’re In The Dark. “We really haven’t gotten any update or any deadline to submit applications or any knowledge at all about what the future is going to bring.” [The Hill, 6/20/18]
  • Catherine Edwards, Executive Director For The Missouri Association Of Area Agencies On Aging: Administration Has No Incentive To Work With Community Groups. “We know this administration is not friendly to the ACA, and so they have no incentive to involve community-based groups in enrolling people.” [The Hill, 6/20/18]
  • Shelli Quenga, Director Of Programs For South Carolina-Based Palmetto Project: Restricting Support Is Bad For Consumers. “It’s very unfortunate for the consumer…We know that consumers still need in-person assistance — and especially consumers who are not native English speakers, consumers who are living just above the poverty line who don’t have a lot of experience with making big financial decisions like this that also have long-term implications to their financial future for themselves and their family members.” [The Hill, 6/20/18]
  • Cutting Funds To Navigator Groups Means They Must Significantly Cut Back On Outreach. “‘We have no expectation of any federal money being available to us,’ said Donna Friedsam, the director of Covering Wisconsin, a navigator program. Her organization received a 42 percent reduction last year because of the funding changes. It previously offered enrollment services in 23 counties, but had to scale down to 12.” [The Hill, 6/20/18]
  • Trump Administration Considering Cutting Funding For Health Care Navigator Groups. “The Trump administration is considering cutting funding for ObamaCare outreach groups that help people enroll in coverage, sources say. An initial proposal by the administration would have cut the funding for the groups, known as “navigators,” from $36 million last year to $10 million this year. Sources say that proposal now could be walked back, and it is possible funding could remain the same as last year, but it is unclear where the final number will end up.” [The Hill, 6/29/18]
  • Jodi Ray, Director Of Florida Covering Kids And Families: “Less Resources Means We Have Less Boots On The Ground To Provide That Enrollment Assistance.” [The Hill, 6/29/18]

New Census Report: Trump-GOP Halts Progress of Improved Health Coverage

Things Will Go From Bad to Worse as Trump-GOP Doubles Down on Its Repeal-and-Sabotage Agenda

Washington, D.C. – The Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans have remained consistent in their crusade against access to affordable health care, and the latest Census data confirms that after annual declines between 2013 and 2016, it has stopped hard-won progress in reducing the number of uninsured Americans in its tracks. And with GOP House Whip Steve Scalise today joining Vice President Mike Pence and Congressional Republicans in pledging to bring health care repeal back for a vote the minute they get a chance, it’s clear that Trump-GOP sabotage will only continue to wreak havoc on seniors, children, people with disabilities, women and working families across America.

Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“Make no mistake, the Trump Administration and GOP have actively tried to rip health coverage away from millions of Americans and his alarming data will only get worse over time.  Republicans sabotaged open enrollment, created chaos in the insurance markets, and raised health care costs for millions.and pledge to continue to take health care away from millions moving forward. As long as the Trump-GOP war on health care continues, the American people will once again be left to suffer.”

Yet Another Poll Confirms The Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Support Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions and Trust Democrats More than Republicans on the Issue

More Evidence that Health Care is The Issue in 2018

Washington, D.C. – This morning, a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll was released, finding that 81 percent of voters say it should not be legal for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and 71 percent saying it should not be legal for insurance companies to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. The findings are only the latest to find that voters strongly oppose the Trump-GOP war on health care. In response to the poll, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“Overwhelming majorities of voters believe insurance companies should not be allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, but that’s exactly what Republicans in Congress voted for, what the Trump-backed lawsuit would do, and what numerous health insurance regulations enacted by the Trump Administration allow. Here’s yet another poll showing Republicans are in hot water because of their own deeply unpopular war on health care.”

Among the new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll’s findings:

  • 81 percent of voters say it should not be legal for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and 71 percent say it should not be legal for insurance companies to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions;
  • On the question of pre-existing conditions, voters trust Democrats in Congress over Republicans in Congress by 22 points (42-20), including by 17 points among voters aged 65 and older (41-24);
  • Voters trust Democrats in Congress over Republicans in Congress on health care by 15 points (46-31) including by 18 points (41-23) with independent men and 11 points (31-20) with independent women, and
  • While Trump’s overall job approval is -15 (41-56), among people who say health care is their number one issue it falls to -43 (27-70).

The Morning Consult/POLITICO poll is the Latest Evidence that Health Care Will be a Major Liability for Republicans:

  • Kaiser Tracking Poll Finds Health Care To Be A Top Issue For Voters.  The poll found that 81 percent of voters consider health care to be either the most important or a very important issue for 2018 candidates to talk about. The next highest vote earner, corruption in Washington, was considered the most or a very important issue by 77 percent of those surveyed. (September 2018)
  • Fox News Poll Finds Majority Of Americans Hold Favorable Opinion Of Affordable Care Act. The poll found that 51 percent of voters held favorable views the Affordable Care Act, compared to only 40 percent who held favorable views of the Republican tax bill. (August 2018)
  • NBC News/ Wall Street Journal Survey Finds Democrats Have 18 Point Advantage In Dealing With Health Care. The survey found that 45 percent of voters polled think democrats would do a better job dealing with health care, compared to only 27 percent of voters who say Republicans would do a better job. (August 2018)
  • Kaiser Tracking Poll Finds Almost Six In Ten Americans Say They Think President Trump And His Administration Are Trying To Make The ACA Fail, Most Say This Is A Bad Thing. “Almost six in ten (56 percent) Americans say they think President Trump and his administration are trying to make the ACA fail while one-third (32 percent) say they are trying to make the law work. Most of those who say they think the Trump administration is trying to make the law fail think this is a “bad thing” (47 percent of the public). In addition, most (58 percent) say since President Trump and Republicans in Congress have made changes to the ACA, they are responsible for any problems with it moving forward.” [Kaiser Family Foundation (July 2018)
  • Kaiser Tracking Poll Finds A Candidates’ Continued Support For Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions Is The Single Most Important Health Position For Voters. Fourteen percent of voters said cited protections for people with pre-existing conditions as the most important factor. Sixty-six percent of voters said it was very important, if not the most important, health care issue to them. (June 2018)

There They Go Again: Republican House Bill Would Repeal Health Care for Up to One Million People, Cost Taxpayers $51.6 Billion

“This bill is the latest swing the of the sledgehammer the GOP has taken to our health care,” says Brad Woodhouse

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a health care repeal bill (HR 3798) this week that would slash coverage for up to one million people and cost taxpayers more than $50 billion. The proposed bill would increase the number of hours needed to qualify as a full-time employee from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week and is projected to cost $51.6 billion over the next decade, resulting in one million people losing their employer-based coverage, and making employers more likely to shift toward part-time work.

Statement from Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care:

“From the Vice President on down, Republicans have pledged that if they retain their majorities in November, they will be coming for our health care and work overtime to repeal it. Only thing is, they aren’t waiting til November to repeal our health care and, as this bill shows, they’re even coming after employer-based health insurance coverage. By allowing employers to kick their full-time workers off of coverage, this bill is only the latest swing of the sledgehammer the GOP has taken to our health care, resulting in higher costs for all of us.”

This bill represents yet another way that Republicans are trying to make it harder for Americans to access health coverage.

If passed, it is estimated that this change could strip health care from up to one million people, result in cuts to hours worked and increase health care costs. Here’s how:

The Congressional Budget Office Estimates That This Change Would Cause One Million People To Lose Their Employer-Based Coverage. In 2014, when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last estimated the impact of raising the number of hours worked to qualify as a full-time employee from 30 hours to 40 hours a week, it found such a change would reduce the number of people receiving employer-sponsored care by about one million. [Congressional Budget Office, 2/25/14]

The Congressional Budget Office Estimates That This Change and Other Provisions in The House Bill Implementing Change Would Cost $51.6 Billion Over the Next Decade. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that changes to the ACA’s employer mandate will cost the federal government $51.6 billion over the next decade.[Congressional Budget Office, 9/11/18]

Center On Budget And Policy Priorities Warns Change Would Put More Workers At Risk Of Having Hours Reduced. In 2015, when the House considered raising the number of hours required to count as a full-time employee from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warned against this measure, saying: “Raising the law’s threshold from 30 hours a week to 40 hours would make a shift toward part-time employment much more likely — not less so. That’s because only a small share of workers today — 7 percent — work 30 to 34 hours a week and thus are most at risk of having their hours cut below health reform’s threshold. In comparison, 44 percent of employees work 40 hours a week, and another several percent work 41 to 44 hours a week.  Thus, raising the threshold to 40 hours would place many more workers at risk of having their hours reduced.” [Center On Budget And Policy Priorities, 1/6/15]

Commonwealth Fund: Raising The Threshold Would Also Raise The Costs Of Federal Health Reform. “Raising the threshold would also raise the federal costs of health reform. As the full-time threshold rises, so does the number of uninsured workers eligible for coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges… Even without employer changes to work schedules, over 500,000 more workers employed between 30 and 40 hours a week could qualify for exchange subsidies at a threshold of 40 hours rather than at the current 30-hour threshold.” [Commonwealth Fund, 1/24/14]

This bill is the latest in a long line of attacks on health care the GOP has launched since assuming power.

  • The Trump Administration’s Department of Justice has joined twenty conservative states in court to argue that the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be overturned.
  • In August, Trump Administration finalized a rule to expand access to bare-bones junk plans that are exempt from key consumer protections, such as the requirement that insurance covers prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization.
  • This summer, the Trump Administration slashed funding for non-profit health navigator groups, that help people shop for coverage, from $36 million to $10 million. CMS encourages groups to use the remaining funds to push people to sign up for junk plans that skirt important consumer protections. These cuts come on top of a 40 percent cut last year, which reduced funding from $62.5 million to $36 million.
  • In June, the Trump Administration finalized yet another proposal, an association health plan rule, designed to lure consumers away from comprehensive coverage and toward plans that skirt key consumer protections.
  • In May, House Republicans voted on a budget amendment that would cut Medicare by $239 billion and Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone.
  • In January, the Trump Administration announced that it would support states that impose onerous work requirements on Americans covered by Medicaid, and approved Kentucky’s worst-in-the-nation waiver the next day.
  • In December 2017, Congressional Republicans passed their tax scam, which doubled as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act  by kicking 13 million people off of their insurance and raising premiums by double digits for millions more.
  • In August 2017, the Administration cut the outreach advertising budget for Open Enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million – which resulted in as many as 1.1 million fewer people getting covered.
  • In July 2017, the Trump Administration used funding intended to support health insurance enrollment to launch a multimedia propaganda campaign against the Affordable Care Act.
  • Last summer, Republicans attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act numerous times. In May, House Republicans voted for and passed a health care repeal bill that would cause 23 million people to lose coverage and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Senate Republicans tried and failed to pass BCRA, Skinny Repeal and Graham-Cassidy, all repeal bills that would have caused millions of Americans to lose their health coverage and raised premiums by double digits for millions more.
  • In April 2017, the Trump Administration cuts the number of days people could sign up for coverage during open enrollment by half, from 90 days to 45 days.

If Republicans Win In November, They Admit They’re Coming For Your Health Care

Story after story has predicted that Republicans plan to repeal Americans’ health care should they win in November. Now, prominent Republicans are admitting the plan themselves. Despite trying to rewrite their records on health care, Republicans are letting the truth slip — should they win in November, make no mistake — they will try to take away your health care.

No matter how hard they try to change the topic or hide the truth, it’s clear they’ve started to let the truth slip, which isn’t good for Americans who work for a living and need affordable health care.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “If We Had The Votes To Completely Start Over, We’d Do It.” “If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it. But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks… We’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.” [Reuters, 10/17/18]

President Trump Reiterates That Republicans Will Go After Repeal Again If Elections Go Their Way. “You know, we want to repeal and replace it, and if we get enough Republicans, we will.” [Washington Post, 9/24/18]

Vice President Pence: ‘We Made An Effort To Fully Repeal And Replace Obamacare And We’ll Continue, With Leah Vukmir In The Senate.” “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare and we’ll continue, with Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll continue to go back to that.” [The Hill, 8/31/18]

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI): Maintaining Majority In Senate Means Republicans Will “Be Able To Pass Health Care Reform.” “I think the election will have to determine that because, based upon our vote count in the Senate. We keep the House majority in the house, which I think we will, and then you have to have enough of a majority in the Senate to be able to pass heath care reform.” [Roll Call, 9/12/18]

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA): “If We Get More Senate Seats, Which I Think We Will, We’ve Got To Go Back To Health Care.” “‘We’ve got to hold the House, but if we get more Senate seats, which I think we will, we’ve got to go back to health care. Obamacare’s only getting worse. There is no private marketplace for families out there,’ House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.” [Fox Business, 9/12/18]

Senior Senate GOP Aide: Senate Would “Absolutely” Vote Again To Repeal ACA. “A senior Senate GOP aide said the chamber would ‘absolutely’ vote again to repeal ObamaCare but cautioned it would depend on ‘if we keep the House.’” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA): On Repealing The ACA, “I’d Love To Have Somebody Take Care Of That.” “‘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]

Sen. John Thune (R-SD): It Would Be Nice To Have Members Who Will Help Us Repeal The ACA. “‘If we re-engage in that discussion in some point in the future, 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]

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): Hopes Next Senator From Arizona Is “Strong Ally” Who Recognizes “Obamacare Is Not A Proper Solution.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): If Republicans Expand Senate Majority, Another Repeal Vote Is Likely. “I suppose that it’s all in the numbers, and if you had a significant enough shift in the Senate and you came up with a replacement that really did generate a level of support, yep.” [Axios, 8/6/18]

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL): If Republicans Win In November, Republicans Could Repeal Health Care. “Republicans could repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act next year if the GOP holds onto its majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, told a crowd in Anniston on Tuesday. ‘Assuming this fall turns out as some of us hope it does, and we pick up a majority in the House, we’re also going to pick up two or three seats in the Senate,’ Rogers said.” [The Anniston Star, 8/15/18]

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): “With 53 Members We Can Get Health Care Done.” [Politico, 7/31/18]

“Repeal Is Like Fight Club, First Rule Is Not To Talk About It.” “Repeal is like fight club,” one GOP operative told Axios’ Caitlin Owens. “First rule is not to talk about it.” [Axios, 8/6/18]

BACKGROUND: IF REPUBLICANS RETAIN A MAJORITY IN CONGRESS NEXT YEAR, THEY WILL TRY TO REPEAL HEALTH CARE AGAIN

The Hill: GOP Lawmakers “Vow” To Try Again At Repeal Next Year If They Keep Majorities. “GOP lawmakers say they won’t have time to hold another vote to repeal the law in 2018 but vow to try again next year if they manage to keep their Senate and House majorities.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Axios: “Many Republicans Assume Their Party Will Take Another Stab At Repeal” If Midterms Go Their Way. “Many Republicans assume their party will take another stab at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act if the midterm elections go their way, even though GOP candidates aren’t making a big deal about it on the campaign trail.” [Axios, 8/6/18]

New York Magazine: “It Is Hard To Think Of A Legislative Priority That Would Rank Higher In [Trump’s] Mind” Than Health Care Repeal. “If Republicans can add a couple more seats, they could give themselves enough margin to overcome the squishy reservations of Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. If they merely hold their narrow majority, they might simply prevail on the two senators to submit. (Murkowski appeared to have been bought off by a special deal for her state last year.) Trump has never stopped talking about the failed repeal vote nor reliving his anger with McCain. It is hard to think of a legislative priority that would rank higher in his mind. A congressional party shorn of its most prominent Trump skeptics, many of whom are retiring, would behave even more submissively toward its leader.” [New York Magazine, 8/6/18]

Politico: With Larger Majority, No Longer Could Collins Or Murkowski Block Health Care Repeal. “With even a slightly larger GOP majority, no longer could Murkowski or her independent-minded brethren like Susan Collins of Maine or Rand Paul of Kentucky effectively dictate which nominees or majority-vote legislation make it through the chamber. Gone, too, would be the constant headaches for Republican leaders sweating an absence, wavering senator or Vice President Mike Pence’s availability to break a tie. Republicans might even have another shot at repealing Obamacare or shrinking the size of the federal government.” [Politico, 7/31/18]

Vox: If Republicans Win In November, “Repeal Could Quickly Be Back On The Agenda.” “It’s not at all out of the question that Republicans will hold on to the House and expand their Senate majority in the 2018 midterms. And if they do, repeal could quickly be back on the agenda. ‘There would certainly be forces pushing for this, so I take it seriously,’ Kim Monk, who tracks health care policy for Capital Alpha. Senate aides say privately that Republicans remain open to taking on repeal again next year.” [Vox, 5/14/18]