Monthly Archives

September 2018

Health Care Activist Laura Packard to Join Protect Our Care’s Bus Tour

Beginning 13 Days from Now, Packard Will Travel to 23 States, Highlighting the Repercussions of the GOP’s Continued Attacks on Americans’ Care

“Holding Republicans accountable for their war on our health care is my mission,” says the Stage Four Cancer Survivor

Washington, D.C. – Today, Protect Our Care is excited to announce that health care activist Laura Packard will be joining the Protect Our Care bus tour for its 11,303 mile journey across the United States. Packard, a Las Vegas resident, small business owner and stage four cancer survivor, will be speaking at every stop of the 48-stop, 23-state bus tour, which kicks off in Portland, Maine on September 24.

“The Affordable Care Act saved my life, which is how I know that Republicans’ continued attacks on health care represent a literal life-or-death scenario for millions of Americans,” said Packard, whose video journals online have received tens of millions of views and whose story, along with others, played an instrumental role in the defeat of health care repeal in Congress. “For six weeks, I’ll be hitting the road this fall with Protect Our Care because working with other Americans with pre-existing conditions to hold accountable the Republican officials who are waging war on the health care we need is now my life’s mission.”

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.

“Laura is exactly who this bus tour is all about,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “Her courage to stand up and speak out for every American whose care is on the line, while battling an unimaginably wretched disease, is an inspiration to all who know her or have heard her tell her story. We’re so deeply honored that she’ll be joining us for this tour.”

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

Portland, ME on Monday, September 24, 2018

Bangor, 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, 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

WATCH: Rick Scott Joins Kevin Cramer in Giving the Boot to Mothers Concerned About Pre-Existing Conditions Protections

Rick Scott followed in Kevin Cramer’s footsteps and removed a concerned mother from a public event in order to avoid questioning regarding his’ war on pre-existing condition protections. Amanda Harrington, communications director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“As if their own repeal-and-sabotage record wasn’t shameful enough, Rick Scott and Kevin Cramer are reprimanding and forcibly removing mothers of children with disabilities who simply want to ask these men why they continue to use their power as elected officials to attack people with pre-existing conditions. They should be ashamed of themselves.”

See for yourself:

Police and Security Remove Mother and 14 year-old-son from Rick Scott Rally [WESH, 9/6/2018]

Cramer’s Office Threatens Constituents [HPR1,]

Mary Rennich and a handful of North Dakotans only wanted to listen, perhaps ask a question about healthcare if time allowed during a Republican press conference at the North Dakota Farm Bureau on Wednesday.

Instead of having their opinions welcomed, current Congressman Kevin Cramer’s campaign manager, Pat Finken, said they were on private property, and threatened Rennich and others with physical removal from the building if they dared say a word.

If Mary Rennich and her family lost insurance, she would be facing more than $7,500 a month in medical bills. “Being a citizen of North Dakota, I think we should have a voice,” Rennich said. “I don’t think they should be afraid to hear questions and have some answers ready. I think that’s their responsibility… I would like to ask some questions. And I know there are a lot of other families that would like to ask, too, because we’re really scared. We’re very frightened.”

 

The Truth Behind Kevin Cramer’s Health Care Record

“For years, Kevin Cramer has waged a war on our health care,” says Brad Woodhouse

Today in Fargo, President Trump will campaign for Kevin Cramer, a long-time supporter of the GOP repeal-and-sabotage agenda and a proponent of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He is also a supporter of the Trump-Stenehjem-GOP lawsuit to eliminate the ACA’s protections for 275,000 North Dakotans living with pre-existing conditions. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement ahead of the joint appearance of these long-time enemies of health care:

“He’s made several desperate attempts to conceal his record, but make no mistake: for years, Kevin Cramer has waged a war on our health care, voting numerous times to eliminate the protections hundreds of thousands of North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions rely upon. That Cramer is taking the stage tonight with someone who on his first day in office vowed to do everything in his power to implode health care for North Dakotans is proof positive that Cramer would only supersize his dangerous repeal-and-sabotage agenda if elected to the Senate.”  

The Truth:

Although Cramer Has Falsely Claimed To Support Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions, the Truth Is Rep. Kevin Cramer Voted Multiple Times to Eliminate Protections for People with Pre-existing Conditions.

  • 2013: Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA. Cramer voted for HR 25, which created a reserve fund for the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. [HR 25, House Vote #88, 3/21/13]
  • 2013: Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Cramer voted for HR 45, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” [HR 45, Roll Call Vote #154, 5/16/13]
  • 2015: Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Cramer voted for HR 596, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”  The bill also ordered House committees to develop a replacement that would “provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage,” but provided no specifics. [HR 596, Roll Call Vote #58, 2/3/15]
  • In fact, Cramer’s own campaign website acknowledged his vote would “repeal the affordable care act in its entirety.” “Today Congressman Kevin Cramer voted with the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.” [Cramer Website, 2/3/15]

Why The Truth Matters:

  • Roughly 275,000 North Dakotans Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. [CAP, 4/5/17]
  • Women no longer charged more than men. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer charge women more than men for the same care.
  • Ended annual and lifetime limits. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive.
  • Young adults can stay on their parents plan until age 26. Because of the ACA, roughly 7,000 young adults in North Dakota have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.
  • Allowed states to expand Medicaid. Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid. 18,000 North Dakotans have gained coverage because of this program.

 

 

Six Ways Republicans Are Dismantling Medicare

“Republicans calling themselves the defenders of Medicare is a dog that just won’t hunt,” says Brad Woodhouse

Washington, DC – In a transparent effort to try to conceal their anti-health care record from voters, Republicans are pushing a recycled, demonstrably false narrative that they are the defenders of Medicare, when they’ve voted to dismantle and weaken the program repeatedly. In response, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“Republicans are getting clobbered because of their agenda of repeal and sabotage and this phony attack reeks of desperation. Pushing this desperate lie proves that Republicans know the deficit they’ve created for themselves on health care is too steep for them to climb. Republicans — the same people who’ve cut Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars, voted to increase costs for seniors in Medicare and want to dismantle it by turning it into a ‘voucher’ program — calling themselves the defenders of Medicare is a dog that just won’t hunt.”

HERE ARE SOME OF THE WAYS REPUBLICANS HAVE TRIED TO UNDERMINE MEDICARE:

  • Paul Ryan on Medicare: “It’s the biggest entitlement we’ve got to reform.” Paul Ryan, December 6, 2017: “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.”
  • President Trump and Congressional Republicans are 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.
  • Congressional Republicans 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.
  • As the cost of drugs skyrocket, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress will not allow Medicare to negotiate for better prescription drug prices. Under current law, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is explicitly prohibited from negotiating directly with drug manufacturers on behalf of Medicare Part D enrollees. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was noticeably absent from President Trump’s recent prescription drug announcement.  
  • Congressional Republicans have repeatedly attempted 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.
  • 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.

Statement from Leslie Dach, Campaign Chair of Protect Our Care, on Today’s Kavanaugh Hearing

“What more do Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski need to know to vote no?” says Leslie Dach

“Between Kavanaugh’s outright refusal to commit to protecting people with pre-existing conditions yesterday, and today’s revelations that he questions whether Roe is ‘settled law’ and does not understand that birth control prevents abortion, rather than causes it, I just want to know: What more do Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who have declared themselves to be protectors of health care and women’s rights, need to know to vote no on this radical nominee?”

Shot/Chaser: Senator Collins’ Deciding Vote For The GOP Tax Bill Could Mean End of Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

“If the Republicans on this case succeed in taking health care away from millions of Americans, Susan Collins owns it,” said Leslie Dach, campaign chair of Protect Our Care.

SHOT: Sen. Collins and Republicans in Congress voted for a tax bill that opened the door for 20 Republican attorneys general and governors — all of them hellbent on overturning our health care — to use to the courts to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions in a lawsuit heard by conservative U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor yesterday.

  • Modern Healthcare: “O’Connor gave only cursory treatment to the baseline question of whether the individual mandate without an accompanying penalty could stand as constitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision to uphold the ACA through the mandate as a tax.”
  • Axios: “O’Connor even wondered if this might have been Republicans’ endgame all along — that they zeroed out the mandate penalty secure in the knowledge that it could reopen the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision upholding the mandate.”

CHASER: If Judge O’Connor rules in favor of the 20 Republican state officials, Sen. Collins and every House and Senate Republican who voted for the GOP tax bill will own the consequences to the American people. And those consequences are serious. Critical Affordable Care Act protections could vanish overnight, unleashing — as the Trump Administration itself admitted — “chaos” in our entire health care system.

  • 17 million more people could lose their coverage in a single year, leading to a 50 percent increase in the uninsured rate
  • Protections for 130 million people with pre-existing conditions, if they buy coverage on their own, would be gone.
  • The Medicaid expansion, currently covering 15 million people, could vanish.
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs, would be eliminated.
  • No longer would kids be allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits? Gone.
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women and people over age 50? Nope.
  • Limits on out-of-pocket costs would be eliminated.
  • Small business tax credits would be gone.
  • Marketplace tax credits for up to 9 million people? Not anymore.

 

Watch The Two Times Brett Kavanaugh Refused to Stand Up for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Twice yesterday, Donald Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court would not commit to protecting people with pre-existing conditions on the very same day that Trump’s Department of Justice argued in court in Texas that these protections should be overturned. In response, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, said: “The fix is in. If anyone still thinks that Trump’s position in the Texas case and the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the court is simply a coincidence – drop me a line – I have some ocean front property for you in Kansas.”

Watch for yourself:

Sen. Klobuchar: “The Texas case on pre-existing conditions, the Administration is taking the position that it’s unconstitutional – that part of the Affordable Care Act, down in the Texas case – taking the position that you could actually throw people off of their insurance if they have a pre-existing condition. So, let’s say that that law is found to be constitutional. Could the President choose not to implement the part of the law providing protections for pre-existing conditions?

Kavanaugh: Senator, that’s a pending case, so I cannot talk about it.

Sen. Whitehouse: In my office you told me that you could provide no assurance to me that you’d uphold a statute requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Is that still true here in public?

Kavanaugh: Well, I think, Senator, it’s important to understand the principle in play here.

Sen. Whitehouse: We’ve talked a lot about that, but is the statement you made – have I recited it accurately, and is it still true today that you can give no assurance that you would uphold the statue?

Kavanaugh: Well, Senator, judges like to explain their decisions.

Sen. Whitehouse: Yep, but I get to ask the questions. Usually you get to ask the questions because you’re an appellate judge, but today for half an hour I get to. So, is it still true that you can give no assurance that you would uphold a statute requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Kavanaugh: So, to prepare for this moment, I went back and read –

Sen. Whitehouse: I really would like you to be as careful with your time as you can because I have a limited amount of time with you, so the quicker you can get to the answer – it could be as simple as yes or no.

Kavanaugh: But I can enhance your understanding of my answer if I explain it, I think.

Sen. Whitehouse: I really just want your answer on the record, I think I’m pretty capable of understanding on my own.

Kavanaugh: But, well, I want everyone to understand my answer. So there’s nominee precedent of how justices and nominees in my position have answered in the past, I’ll be succinct if I can. And all eight sitting justices –

Sen. Whitehouse: I know, you’ve actually already said this in the hearing, so people who are listening and are interested have actually already heard you say this.

Kavanaugh: Well, I think it’s really important so I want to –

Sen. Whitehouse: Say it again then.

Kavanaugh: I want to underscore it. All eight sitting justices in the Supreme Court have made it clear that it would be inconsistent with judicial independence, rooted in Article III, to provide answers on cases or issues that could come before us. Justice Ginsburg hints forecast, Justice Kagan talking about precedent, no thumbs up or down and I went back, Justice Thurgood Marshall was asked repeatedly in his hearing, what do you think about Miranda, what do you think about Miranda, what do you think about Miranda –

Sen. Whitehouse: Got it, everybody else does it and the answer is still no.

Kavanaugh: So the reason everyone else does it is rooted in judicial independence and my respect for precedent. So it’s a combination of my respect for precedent, nominee precedent, and my respect for judicial independence. So I can’t give assurances on a specific hypothetical.

Health Care Advocates Fight Trump-GOP Lawsuit and Kavanaugh in Washington, DC and in the States

Advocates Across the Country Demand GOP State AGs and Governors Drop Their Lawsuit Against Our Health Care, and Urge Senators to Block Trump’s ‘Rubber Stamp’ on the Case

As oral arguments took place this afternoon in Texas v. United States, and the Senate Judiciary Committee continued hearing the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, health care advocates from coast to coast demanded their state and federal leaders protect Americans’ health care.

Cancer survivors Jeff Jeans of Arizona and Joseph Merlino of Nevada, and Air Force Veteran Kelly Gregory of Tennessee, currently battling terminal breast cancer, traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge the Senate to reject the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, while local Protect Our Coalitions in ten states held events making the dangers of the GOP’s lawsuit clear.

In the nation’s capitol, Jeans, Merlino, and Gregory spent the day on Capitol Hill, speaking, meeting with senators, and attending the confirmation hearings, highlighting Republicans’ continuing war on health care. This morning, Gregory and Jeans joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Members, and other health care advocates at a press conference to discuss the threat Judge Kavanaugh represents to their health health care and that of millions of Americans.

And, as oral arguments took place in Texas, et al. v. United States, et. al., a lawsuit that could unilaterally end protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions overnight, local Protect Our Care coalitions and advocates living with pre-existing conditions held events outside the offices of their Republican attorneys general, urging them to drop this dangerous Trump-GOP lawsuit and instead protect our health care.

For example:

In West Virginia, health care advocates with pre-existing conditions visited the office of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, one of the eighteen Republican attorneys general on the Texas lawsuit, discussing their concerns about his actions to end protections for the 738,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions.

In Florida, health care advocates gathered outside of the Jackson Memorial Hospital to denounce Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit and the repercussions which could come from it. State. Rep. Shevrin Jones also highlighted the urgency to protect these protections in his South Florida Sun-Sentinel op-ed, “We must continue to defend the Affordable Care Act.”

In Maine, health care advocates and people living with pre-existing conditions held a press conference discussing the dangers 548,000 Mainers would face, should Governor Paul LePage’s lawsuit prevail.

In Missouri, a group of Missourians with pre-existing conditions, including a strong Missourian currently battling breast cancer, met with staff of Sen. Roy Blunt at his district office, noting their concerns about Attorney General Josh Hawley’s lawsuit and Kavanaugh’s nomination.

In Tennessee, local health care advocates called on Attorney General Herbert Slatery to withdraw from the Texas lawsuit and instead support the protections for 2.7 million Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions. Advocates requested a meeting with Slatery, but representatives from his office instead would only meet with three of the six Tennesseans in question.

And in Arizona, caregivers and health care advocates joined with Protect Our Care, the Human Rights Campaign, and Planned Parenthood to deliver letters to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, calling on him to remove himself from the lawsuit and instead protect the 2.8 million Arizonans with pre-existing conditions.

As the hearings and the Trump-GOP lawsuit continue, health care advocates from coast to coast will continue to stand up to the GOP’s war on health care, with hopes that Republicans will finally start listening.

Statement from Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, in Response to Texas and Kavanaugh Hearings Today

“The fix is in,” says Brad Woodhouse, for people with pre-existing conditions

“There we have it: Trump nominated someone to the United States Supreme Court who today said he would not commit to protecting people with pre-existing conditions on the very same day that Trump’s Department of Justice argued in court in Texas that these protections should be overturned. The fix is in. If anyone still thinks that Trump’s position in the Texas case and the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the court is simply a coincidence – drop me a line – I have some ocean front property for you in Kansas.”

Three Things Gov. Scott Refuses To Do To Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Though Gov. Rick Scott has claimed he does “not agree with efforts to remove pre-existing conditions” and thinks it is “important to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions,” he has turned his back on Floridians at every opportunity to do so.]

 

  1. Gov. Scott has refused to oppose a lawsuit designed to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions. 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. Gov. Scott has refused to come out against the lawsuit or to call on Attorney General Pam Bondi to withdraw from the suit.
  2. Gov. Scott refuses to take action at the state level to protect against the Trump administration’s junk plan rule that lets insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. In August, 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. Several states, including Maryland, Vermont, Hawaii, Illinois, Washington, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon have proposed or finalized rules that protect consumers against junk plans. Gov. Scott refuses to make similar protections.
  3. He has also refused to come out against Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. As cases to overturn the Affordable Care Act make their way through the courts, Gov. Scott still has not come out against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the court. Instead, he has voiced support for Trump’s nominee who could decide cases that would strip protections from people with pre-existing conditions.  Kavanaugh has previously criticized Chief Justice Roberts’ decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

 

BONUS: He also helped design Republican repeal efforts that would jeopardize protections for 7.8 million Floridians. Gov. Scott was an advisor to the Trump Administration on plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and continued to push for its repeal even after it failed in the Senate. A full repeal of the ACA would eliminate protections that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more if someone has a pre-existing condition.