Monthly Archives

September 2018

Final Rates Confirm Rhode Islanders’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rhode Island announced final rates for 2019 individual-market health insurance plans, which indicate average benchmark premium increases of 8.1 percent, due to the Trump Administration and Washington Republicans’ health care sabotage. Health insurance analysts estimate that absent GOP sabotage, the cost of individual-market health insurance plans nationwide would drop 4.3 percent. 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Islanders.”

From the Experts:

Office Of The Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner: Rates “Made Against The Backdrop Of Continuing Uncertainty Over Federal Policy Actions Around The Affordable Care Act.” “This year’s rate filings are made against the backdrop of continuing uncertainty over federal policy actions around the Affordable Care Act, such as the discontinuance of both Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies and penalties for not having insurance.” [Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner’s Office, 5/31/18]

Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner Marie L. Ganim: “This Has Been A Challenging Year As We Have Faced Multiple Policy Decisions At The Federal Level Designed To Undermine Market Stability.” [Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner’s Office, accessed 9/5/18]

Neighborhood Health Plan Of Rhode Island: “Key Drivers Of The Rate Increase Include” Mandate Repeal. “The range of rate changes, before reflecting changes in age, which consumers will experience, is approximately 7.9% to 9.6%. Key drivers of this rate increase, further described below, include: Repeal of the individual mandate penalty affecting medical service costs…  In 2018, the federal administration also repealed the individual mandate penalty which previously required all US citizens or permanent residents to obtain qualifying health insurance or pay a tax penalty greater than zero dollars. Repeal of the mandate penalty will result in approximately 1.9% increase of premiums, assuming healthy individuals will no longer purchase health insurance.” [Neighborhood Plan of Rhode Island, 5/31/18]

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 Absent GOP Sabotage. “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]

America’s Health Insurance Plans: Republican Sabotage Will “Drive Up The Rate Of Premium Increases.” “Policies that disproportionately draw healthy consumers away from the individual market, like expanding access to short-term plans, will likely have an even more devastating effect on affordability, choice and competition. This will further result in adverse selection, drive up the rate of premium increases, and exacerbate affordability issues for many other people.” [America’s Health Insurance Plans Letter to HHS, 4/20/18]

Kris Haltmeyer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Vice President: “With The Repeal Of The Individual Mandate And The Failure Of Congress To Enact Stabilization Legislation, We Are Expecting Premiums To Go Up Substantially.” Kris Haltmeyer, a vice president at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, told reporters that the premium increases were in part due to the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the Republican tax reform bill in December. He also cited lawmakers’ failure to pass a bill aimed at shoring up the market, which fell apart earlier this year amid a partisan dispute over abortion restrictions. ‘With the repeal of the individual mandate and the failure of Congress to enact stabilization legislation, we are expecting premiums to go up substantially,’ Haltmeyer said. He estimated that average premium increases nationwide will be in the ‘low teens,’ but that there will be major variation across areas, ranging from the low single digits to up to 70 or 80 percent.” [The Hill, 5/23/18]

“Our Lives on the Line” as Trump-GOP Work to Overturn Our Health Care

As Trump’s DOJ, GOP Attorneys General and GOP Governors Go to Court to Overturn Health Care Protections for Millions, Health Care Advocates in Their States Demand Their Leaders Protect the 130 Million Americans Living with Pre-Existing Conditions

Meanwhile, Advocates in Washington Urge Senators to Vote ‘No’ on Kavanaugh, Hand-picked to be a Rubber Stamp in this Case

Washington, DC – Today, as oral arguments will be held in the case Texas, et al. vs. United States, et al., a lawsuit that not only threatens protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but a whole host of provisions that tens of millions of Americans rely upon for their care and coverage, health care advocates around the country are uniting once again to demand that their Republican attorneys general and governors drop this dangerous lawsuit. At the same time, health care advocates living with pre-existing conditions have traveled to Washington, DC to urge Senators to reject Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. If the courts ultimately rule in favor of the Republican states and the Trump administration, critical health care protections would vanish overnight, unleashing chaos in our entire health care system.

“The court must uphold the law and protect our healthcare — and Republicans must end their dangerous political games with Americans’ health care. President Trump and the Republican attorneys general and governors pushing this lawsuit could bring us all back to a time when insures frequently denied the millions of Americans living with pre-existing conditions coverage or jacked up their premiums, making life-saving health care unaffordable for those who need it most,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care.  

The American people have made it clear time and again that they do not support repeal, and poll after poll after poll shows Americans do not support rolling back critical coverage that would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions that exist in the ACA. Today, Protect Our Care coalitions in Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, Missouri, Montana, Florida, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia are holding actions once more to ask their Republican attorneys general or governors to drop their lawsuit to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act.

While advocates with Protect Our Care coalitions stand up against the Trump-GOP lawsuit in states across the country, patients with pre-existing conditions are in Washington D.C. asking Senators to vote no on Kavanaugh’s nomination. “If confirmed, this judge will have the ability to overturn the Affordable Care Act and the power to dismantle the programs we now have,” said Kelly Gregory, an Air Force veteran from Nashville, Tennessee currently battling stage four breast cancer who sat in the hearing yesterday and was referenced by Senators Feinstein and Kloubuchar. “I’m here to fight for those people who will be in my shoes now and in the future,” said Jeff Jeans, a cancer survivor from Sedona, Arizona who switched political parties during cancer treatment when he realized he wouldn’t be alive if not for the Affordable Care Act. “This is my voice,” said Joseph Merlino, a survivor of cancer in his larynx, who met with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto yesterday. “And I’m using it to make sure that my Senators know that as I fought a rare throat cancer, I relied on coverage that I got through the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid. If it weren’t for that, I surely wouldn’t be here right now.”

Texas, et al. v. United States, et al. puts into sharp view just what is at stake for health care with Kavanaugh’s nomination. If the district court in Texas rules in favor of the Republicans and blocks the law — and Trump successfully installs Kavanaugh as his anti-health care ‘rubber stamp’ on the Supreme Court, it will have a devastating impact on health care. Here is what could be eliminated:

  • Seventeen 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
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
  • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people
  • Small business tax credits
  • Marketplace tax credits for up to 9 million people

For more information on the case, read Protect Our Care’s new report “The Relentless Republican War On People with Pre-existing Conditions: The Lone Star Edition.” You can also see what health care experts have to say by reading,  “Those Who Know Health Care The Best Say The Texas Lawsuit Is The Worst.”

Health Care Advocates Travel to D.C. to Urge Rejection of Brett Kavanaugh

Advocates from Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee Discuss Looming Threats to Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Today, health care advocates from Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee arrived in Washington, D.C., urging the Senate to reject the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Cancer survivors Jeff Jeans of Arizona and Joseph Merlino of Nevada, and Air Force Veteran Kelly Gregory of Tennessee, currently battling terminal breast cancer, visited Capitol Hill, met with senators, and attended the nomination hearing, to discuss the threat Judge Kavanaugh represents to their health health care and that of millions of Americans.

“This judge literally has the power to take us backward in time to the days when people like me were priced out of insurance because of our medical history,” said Gregory, an Air Force veteran from Tennessee currently battling stage four breast cancer, who was mentioned by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) during today’s confirmation hearing. “Let me be be the last person to die because of a lack of access to health care.”

Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated a vocal hostility to health care. Just last year he criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. He has been consistently hostile towards women’s health, previously arguing that employers should be able to deny women coverage for birth control and attempting to force a young woman to continue a pregnancy against her will. And he was approved by the Federalist Society, which has been advocating against the ACA since before it was signed into law.

“As I fought a rare throat cancer, I relied on coverage that I got through the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid. If it weren’t for that, I surely wouldn’t be here right now,” said Joseph Merlino, a survivor of cancer in his larynx, who met with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) this afternoon and urged her to reject the nomination. “Brett Kavanaugh’s hostility towards the ACA and Medicaid is a direct threat to millions of Americans like me who rely on it.”

Tomorrow, oral arguments begin in Texas v. United States, a lawsuit attempting to overturn the benefits provided by the ACA, including those for Americans with pre-existing conditions, brought by 20 Republican state Attorneys General and governors and backed by the Trump Administration in an unprecedented move. While these Republicans spend the afternoon arguing to strip the protections relied on by 130 million Americans, these health care advocates will be meeting with lawmakers, speaking at rallies, and conducting interviews, all to urge Senators to protect Americans’ care and reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“I was a Republican who was against the ACA. It took cancer and my having to face my own death to bring compassion for others into my heart, and to understand why the ACA was needed,” said Jeff Jeans of Arizona. “I implore all Senators to find in them the compassion and courage that my former Senator John McCain had and use the power we’ve entrusted to them to fight back against any attempt to take away our health care.”

Reminder: Those Who Know Health Care The Best Say The Texas Lawsuit Is the Worst

Tomorrow, oral argument will be held in the case Texas, et al. vs. United States, et al., which not only threatens protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but a whole host of provisions of tens of millions of Americans rely upon for their care and coverage. If the court rules in favor of the Republican states and the Trump administration, critical Affordable Care Act protections would vanish overnight, unleashing chaos in our entire health care system. Just see what the experts say.

Patient groups, physicians, and hospitals emphasize how much the lawsuit could threaten care for people across the country:

  • American Public Health Association’s Executive Director, Dr. Georges Benjamin, Says the Lawsuit Could Be The Most Dangerous Effort To Destabilize The American Healthcare System Yet. “Overturning the ACA will result in a catastrophic loss of coverage for millions of Americans. According to a new analysis by the Urban Institute, if the ACA is invalidated, more than 17 million people would lose coverage in 2019. That would be a 50% increase in the number of uninsured in just one year, including 12 million people who receive insurance through the marketplaces created by the ACA and 2.3 million young adults who gained coverage through its expansion of dependent care. Striking down the ACA will jeopardize the healthcare of those who need it most. Nearly 12 million low-income Americans who were enrolled in Medicaid through the ACA would likely lose coverage…This lawsuit could be the most dangerous effort to destabilize the American healthcare system yet. That’s why the American Public Health Association has submitted friend-of-the-court briefs opposing this suit, along with many other health organizations, insurers, economists and members of the business community.” [Los Angeles Times, Benjamin, 9/4/18]          

 

  • American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “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: “​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]

 

  • American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, The Catholic Health Association of the United States, and Association of American Medical Colleges: “A judicial repeal would have severe consequences for America’s hospitals, which would be forced to shoulder the greater uncompensated-care burden that the ACA’s repeal would create.” The relief sought by Texas and its allies “would have devastating consequences, kicking millions of Americans off of coverage and inflicting on them all the harms that come with being uninsured. These harms would fall on the low-income families least able to cope with them. ​And a judicial repeal would have severe consequences for America’s hospitals, which would be forced to shoulder the greater uncompensated-care burden that the ACA’s repeal would create.” [American Hospital Association et. al, 6/14/18]

 

  • Public Health Scholars and the American Public Health Association: “The Foreseeable Public Health Consequences Of The Injunction Are Nothing Short of Catastrophic.” “Without the ACA, the health of millions of Americans would be harmed. Consider the grim analyses of proposed legislation partially repealing the ACA: In 2017, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) assessed the impact of a bill partially repealing the ACA and found (among other things) that it would, in “the first new plan year following enactment of the bill” alone, increase the number of uninsured Americans by 18 million. That number would grow to 27 million after the “year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion,” and then to 32 million by 2026. Still more is at stake here: Unlike the injunctive relief plaintiffs seek, the bill analyzed by CBO would have staggered its partial repeal of the ACA to avoid catastrophic results. Here, plaintiffs ask the Court to eliminate, as preliminary injunctive relief, a complex statute in its eighth year of implementation—a statute whose repeal through democratic means has been attempted innumerable times but has never succeeded.” [Public Health Scholars et. al, 6/14/18]

 

  • AARP: Before ACA’s Protections, Discrimination Against Those With Pre-Existing Conditions, Age Rating, And Annual And Lifetime Caps Made Accessing Health Care Out Of Reach For Older Adults. “Uninsured pre-Medicare adults faced nearly insurmountable challenges to securing insurance because they were denied coverage based on preexisting conditions or offered costly policies that excluded coverage for needed care. Even without preexisting conditions, insurance premiums for older adults were as much as 11 times greater than their younger counterparts solely based on their age. Even a healthy person who was age 50 to 64 with no preexisting conditions faced markedly higher insurance premium rates than a younger person. Age rating put the cost of insurance out of reach for many pre-Medicare adults. Annual and lifetime caps—which were easily exceeded by treatment for a single illness such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes—meant that many older adults either went without treatment until they became eligible for Medicare or incurred financially ruinous medical debt.” [AARP, 6/14/18]

Health insurance companies warn that the lawsuit could lead to mass coverage losses:

  • America’s Health Insurance Plans: “Abruptly threatening or even cutting off billions of federal dollars that allow individuals to purchase insurance and that fund benefits offered through Medicaid or Medicare would have devastating effects.”“The healthcare system, while constantly evolving, cannot pivot to a new (or, worse yet, non-existent) set of rules without consequences. Abruptly threatening or even cutting off billions of federal dollars that allow individuals to purchase insurance and that fund benefits offered through Medicaid or Medicare would have devastating effects.​ Enjoining enforcement of federal laws like the federally-facilitated marketplaces and the products sold on them would be similarly disruptive.” [AHIP, 6/14/18]

 

  • The Ability Of Millions Of Low-Income, Medically Vulnerable People To Access Necessary Treatments Would Be Cast Into Doubt. “The Medicaid program would likewise experience significant disruptions​. Stopping the funding for individuals made newly eligible for Medicaid under the ACA would harm the 34 states that have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs and potentially disrupt healthcare coverage for the 12 million people added as a result of that expansion​…The coverage of millions of low-income and medically-vulnerable patients—and their ability to receive necessary treatments and prescription drugs—would be cast into doubt. At the same time, state Medicaid programs would see drug costs increase considerably for all enrollees (including children, disabled, and elderly) due to the loss of the ACA’s enhanced prescription drug rebates​.” [AHIP, 6/14/18]

Small businesses, economists, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) demonstrate how DOJ’s lawsuit would jeopardize Americans’ health while harming the economy:

  • Small Business Majority Foundation: “Before the enactment of ACA, this linkage pressured individuals to seek out and then stay put in jobs that provided affordable health insurance—a phenomenon known as ‘job lock’—because people clung to jobs with affordable health coverage even when they might have otherwise chosen to start businesses or pursue more attractive job opportunities with growing small businesses.” Small business owners, their employees, and self-employed individuals have benefited significantly from the many different reforms enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, especially the creation of the individual marketplaces with tax credits, the optional expansion of Medicaid, and small group market reforms. Millions more working Americans, who are self employed or employees of the Nation’s small businesses, now have health insurance that they would not have had without the Act. The harm they will suffer if the Act is enjoined is just one of many reasons why the public interest is not served by Plaintiffs’ sweeping requested injunction.” [Small Business Majority Foundation, 6/14/18]

 

  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU): “A Decision Striking Down The ACA Not Only Would Strip Health Coverage And Protections From Nearly 30 Million People And Remove Quality Care Incentives For Providers But Also Would Have Catastrophic Economic Consequences.” “Loss of the ACA would cause an enormous surge in the number of uninsured Americans, which would in turn increase the burden of uncompensated medical care costs borne by hospitals and other medical care providers by an estimated $1 trillion between 2019 and 2028. The massive reduction in federal funding would lead to the loss of up to 2.6 million jobs. And because the health care sector accounts for such a large percentage of the overall U.S. economy, eliminating the ACA would result in a $2.6 trillion reduction in total business activity between 2019 and 2023.” [SEIU, 6/14/18]

 

  • Linda Blumberg, Fellow At Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center, And Sherry Glied, Dean Of Public Service At New York University: Lawsuit Would “Damage A Broad Swath Of The American Economy.” “We are economists, so we cannot address the legal questions. But we know what would happen if the court eliminated the ACA’s protections for people with health problems or invalidated the law entirely. The Urban Institute estimates that 17.1 million more people would become uninsured in 2019, a 50 percent increase in the number of uninsured. A decision for the plaintiffs would go beyond coverage losses. The ACA is complex and touches virtually every area of health care. Consumers and providers have relied on it for over eight years. Invalidating the law would eliminate extensions of coverage for those with employer insurance or Medicare, including preventive services with no cost-sharing, dependent coverage for young adults, and closure of the Medicare ‘donut hole’ that lowers prescriptions costs for seniors. It would throw the Medicare payment system into chaos and would require states to change the systems they built for determining Medicaid eligibility. It would damage a broad swath of the American economy.” [Austin American-Statesman, 8/30/18]

Law professors and the American Medical Association question the legality of the Justice Department’s argument:

  • Josh Blackman, Professor At South Texas College Of Law: Writing Off This Case Would Be A Mistake. “Writing off this case would be a mistake, warned Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law and frequent commentator on the healthcare law. ‘If the history of the Affordable Care Act teaches us anything, it is that we should not dismiss legal challenges too quickly,’ he said.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/4/18]
  • Law Professors From Both Sides Of The Aisle, Including Jonathan Adler, Ilya Somin, Nicholas Bagley, Abbe Gluck, and Kevin Walsh, Note That Despite Their Different Policy Perspectives, They Agree That DOJ’s Arguments About Severability Are Inconsistent With The Law. “[A] court’s substitution of its own judgment for that of Congress would be an unlawful usurpation of congressional power and violate basic black-letter principles of severability. Yet that is what the plaintiff States and the United States invite this Court to do.​..This time-shifting of congressional intent misapplies severability doctrine. By expressly amending the statute in 2017 and setting the penalty at zero while not making other changes, Congress eliminated any need to examine earlier legislative findings or to theorize about what Congress would have wanted. Congress told us what it wanted through its 2017 legislative actions.” [Jonathan Adler 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: DOJ Seeks To “Change The Federal Government’s Health Care Policy Through The Courts.” “The plaintiffs do not seek redress for any real, concrete injury because they have suffered none. They simply seek to change the federal government’s health care policy through the courts, rather than through the legislature.” [AMA et. al, 6/14/18]

Protect Our Care On PhRMA Lobbyist Jon Kyl Finishing Senator John McCain’s Term

“Now We Will Have Yet Another Senator Whose Priorities Lie with Big Insurance and Drug Companies,” says Brad Woodhouse

Washington, D.C. – Following the announcement that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will name former Senator and current Big Pharma lobbyist Jon Kyl to fill the remainder of Sen. John McCain’s term, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“By naming a Big Pharma lobbyist who repeatedly voted against the Affordable Care Act and has continued to call for its repeal to serve the remainder of Sen. McCain’s term, Gov. Ducey has assured we will have yet another Senator whose priorities lie with insurance and drug companies, not the health and wellbeing of the American people.”

BACKGROUND:

Jon Kyl Infamously Opposed Requirements That Health Plans Cover Essential Benefits Like Maternity Care And Hospitalization — Saying “I Don’t Need Maternity Care.”

Jon Kyl Proposed An Amendment That Would Have Allowed Insurance Companies To Sell Plans Not Required To Cover Certain Benefits, Such As Prescription Drug Coverage, Hospitalization, And Maternity Care. “By a vote of 14 to 9, the committee rejected an amendment by Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, that would have prohibited the federal government from defining the specific health benefits that insurers must offer. The government would prescribe a minimum package of benefits under all health bills pending in Congress.” [New York Times, 9/26/09]

Jon Kyl: “I Don’t Need Maternity Care.” “Mr. Kyl said that federal benefit mandates would increase the cost of insurance. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, said such requirements were needed because many insurance policies did not cover important services like maternity care. Mr. Kyl insisted, ‘I don’t need maternity care.’ But Ms. Stabenow said, ‘Your mom probably did.’” [New York Times, 9/26/09]

The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive coverage more available by requiring insurance companies to include “essential health benefits” in their plans, such as maternity care, hospitalization, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage. Before the ACA, people had to pay extra for separate coverage for these benefits. For example, in 2013, 75 percent of non-group plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance abuse disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services. Six percent did not even cover generic drugs. If Jon Kyl had his way, insurance companies would once again be able to refuse coverage for these key health services.

Kyl Strongly Opposed The Affordable Care Act And Called For Its Repeal

HEADLINE:  “Kyl: Health Bill A ‘Stunning Assault On Liberty.’” [The Hill, 9/22/09]

Following The Supreme Court’s Decision Finding The Affordable Care Act Constitutional, Kyl Called On The American People To “Overturn The Law By The Choices They Make In November’s Election.” “Because the Supreme Court did not strike down the most onerous provisions, it appears that the American people themselves will have to overturn the law by the choices they make in November’s election.” [Arizona Daily Star, 6/29/12]

Without the ACA, what would disappear?

    • Protections for 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, if they buy coverage on their own
    • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
    • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
    • Ban on annual and lifetime limits
    • Ban on insurance discrimination against women
    • Limit on out-of-pocket costs
    • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people
    • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable
    • Small business tax credits
    • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for up to 8.7 million people nationally, including 121,000 Arizonans.

Jon Kyl Is A Major Pharmaceutical Lobbyist

PhRMA Has Paid Jon Kyl’s Lobbying Firm, Covington & Burling, More Than Any Other Lobby Shop. “Since 1998, pharmaceutical companies have paid Covington & Burling roughly $19 million to lobby on their behalf, making the industry Covington & Burling’s second-largest customer, according to a Tarbell analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Pharmaceutical companies have paid the firm more than oil and gas, finance and insurance companies combined. And since Kyl arrived, the pharmaceutical industry has accounted for a greater share of Covington & Burling’s lobbying, Tarbell’s analysis shows. In the past three years, PhRMA itself has paid Covington & Burling nearly $3 million — more than it has paid any other lobby shop.” [Tarbell, 11/14/17]

Major pharmaceutical companies have reaped benefits from Republican policy. Here’s how:

Pharmaceutical Companies Have The Highest Profits In The Health Industry. With earnings from only 85 of 118 health care companies announced, profit is already higher for Q2 than it has been for any quarter in the past year. So far, health companies have announced $47 billion in global profit, with pharmaceutical companies making the highest profit margins. Why the sudden growth? In large part, because of Republican corporate tax breaks.

Republican Tax Cut Fueling Pharmaceutical Profits. As Axios reports: “But the larger earnings also stemmed from Republicans’ massive cut in corporate taxes. The income tax expense for drug giant AbbVie, for example, was 93% lower in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.”

At The Same Time, Pharmaceutical Companies Also Reaping Profits By Charging Higher Prices. Between February 1st and July 15th, drug companies raised prices on 255 drugs. As Bloomberg notes, “For all..categories of drugs, list prices rose far faster than inflation. Prices for 10 commonly used diabetes drugs rose 25.6 percent, on average, while average prices for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune treatments rose 40.1 percent.” To learn more the high costs of drug prices, check out a handy explainer video from the Center for American Progress.