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November 2018

Elections Have Consequences

400,000 Virginians Now Eligible to Enroll in Medicaid

Washington DC – Today, hundreds of thousands of Virginians between the ages of 19 and 64 who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level are now able to enroll in Medicaid, with the commonwealth having succeeded in enacting Medicaid Expansion earlier this year after the 2017 election during which health care was the number one issue to voters according to exit polls.  Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following in response to today’s news:

“Today, hundreds of thousands of Virginians will gain access to quality health coverage, something only made possible because voters motivated by health care turned out in droves to elect pro-health care leaders in 2017. With only five days until the midterm elections, Americans across the country are gearing up to make their outrage about the Republican war on health care known because Republicans who still stubbornly oppose Medicaid expansion — be they Scott Walker, Ron DeSantis, Mitt Romney or Donald Trump — are on the wrong side health care, the wrong side of voters, and the wrong side of history.”  


In Georgia, Democratic Candidate Stacy Abrams Has Said The First Thing She Would Do Is Expand Medicaid. “Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams has said the first thing she would do as governor is expand Medicaid. That’s the decision each state can make to give more low-income people access to health care. States receive federal funding for it, though they, too, have to pay into the program. ‘And you’ll hear me talk about this ad nauseam because it’s the only answer to Georgia’s challenges,’ Abrams said at a health care policy press conference Monday. ‘We have an uncompensated care rate of $1.7 billion.’…Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has refused to expand the program in Georgia, and Republican candidate Brian Kemp said he wouldn’t expand it either. ‘Government programs that aren’t working now are not a reason to give them more money,’ Kemp said at an event last week. Kemp said, instead, he favors opening up the private sector market to more competition to lower health care costs.” [WABE, 9/12/18]

In Florida, Andrew Gillum is running on Medicaid Expansion, with polling showing Floridians want to expand Medicaid. “According to new data from the left-leaning think tank Data for Progress, an estimated 65 percent of Florida voters support expanding Medicaid across the state — and, amazingly, voters in every legislative or congressional district from the Keys all the way up to the Panhandle support the idea.” [Miami New Times, 5/25/18]

In Ohio, Cordray Blasts DeWine, Who Flip-Flopped on Medicaid Expansion because it is so Popular. “Cordray also dinged DeWine on Ohio’s Medicaid expansion, which provides health coverage to nearly 700,000 Ohioans. Republican Gov. John Kasich has ‘done some things that are very good for Ohio,’ Cordray said. ‘He had real courage on the Medicaid expansion, bringing that to Ohio and fighting the naysayers in his own party who said, ‘Gee, that’s part of Obamacare.’ And my opponent was part of those naysayers.’ DeWine now says he’ll keep the expansion. But Eck didn’t answer a question asking why, if he favored it, DeWine repeatedly sued to kill the law that made it possible.” [Columbus Dispatch, 9/20/18]

In Wisconsin, Democratic Challenger Tony Evers Targets Scott Walker For Not Taking Federal Medicaid Expansion. “Evers made health care the focus of his only television ad to date, faulting Walker for not taking the federal Medicaid expansion and pointing out that the cost of an average health insurance plan sold on the private market this year in Wisconsin was more expensive than in Minnesota. Walker argues the ad is misleading and health insurance costs will decrease in Wisconsin once a recently approved reinsurance program takes effect.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/7/18]

In Michigan, Candidates Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Bill Schuette (R) Spar Over Medicaid Expansion. “As attorney general, Schuette joined at least nine lawsuits fighting the Affordable Care Act. In a 2017 fundraising mailer, he said he opposed the law, ‘including the ‘free’ federal Medicaid dollars from Obama that leave Michigan taxpayers on the hook for more!’ ‘He has been the chief advocate against Healthy Michigan in our state ever since we started the bipartisan negotiations on it,” Whitmer told The Detroit News. ‘The biggest threat to health care in Michigan is Bill Schuette.’ But the Medicaid expansion program is threatened by declining federal aid, Schuette notes. The federal government fully funded the Medicaid expansion program the first three years, but the state began paying a share in 2017 and will be required to cover 10 percent of the costs by 2020. By then, it’s estimated to cost the state roughly $380 million a year.” [Detroit News, 9/18/19]

In Tennessee, Karl Dean is Running on Medicaid Expansion, with Polls Showing Voters Support it Strongly. “The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research in April, showed 63 percent support Medicaid expansion with the use of federal funds to 21 percent against and 16 percent undecided.” [Nashville Tennessean, 5/7/18]

In Idaho, Democratic Candidate Paulette Jordan is a Supporter of Prop 2 (Medicaid Expansion). Her opponent, Lt. Gov. Brad Little has declined to say whether he will vote for the initiative but said if elected governor, he would respect the will of the voters if they pass Medicaid expansion. [KTVB, 10/29/18]

In Alabama, Democratic Challenger Walt Maddox Is Running On Medicaid Expansion. “The Democratic nominee began the tour in Tuscaloosa where he is mayor. Describing himself as the only candidate in the race talking about the state’s “big problems”, Maddox is running on a platform of establishing a state lottery to fund education programs and expanding Medicaid. Standing with his wife, Stephanie and his two children, Maddox said the race is about ensuring the state’s children have opportunities.” [Associated Press, 9/17/18

Fort Pierce Leaders Stand Up to Say, “It’s Time to End the Republican War on Health Care”

Local Health Care Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Call for an End to GOP Attacks on Floridians’ Health Care

Lauren Baer speaks in front of Care Force one in Fort Pierce, Florida.

FORT PIERCE, FLORIDA – This morning, Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour arrived in Fort Pierce to call attention to the ongoing Republican war on health care care. Headlined by Lauren Baer, the event highlighted the actions Republicans are taking to harm Floridians’ care and called on Gov. Rick Scott and Rep. Brian Mast to work instead to protect our care.

Local Hobe Sound resident Kyla MacArdle kicked off the event, discussing her own health care experience.

“Two and half years ago, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, the most difficult cancer to treat,” said MacArdle.”Without the ACA, I would now be dead. Without the ACA, I would have no health insurance and be punished for having a pre-existing condition. Rep. Brian Mast has voted to repeal and replace the ACA. It would kick 1.3 million Floridians off of Medicaid . It would also let insurers be able to discriminate against 7.8 million Floridians with pre-existing conditions, including over 270,000 who live in his own district. This is a non-partisan health insurance crisis that we as Americans are going to need to fix. We need to save the ACA, to save me.”

MacArdle’s comments were echoed by Lauren Baer, a former Obama Administration official and attorney.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege for the most fortunate Americans, and no Floridian should have to choose between making ends meet and getting the kind of care they need,” said Baer. “The people of our community have suffered for too long at the hands of Washington politicians like Brian Mast who vote in ways that increase costs and decrease coverage. It’s time for a change.”

The significance of Baer’s and McArdle’s remarks was made clear by national health care advocate Laura Packard.

“I’m alive because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Packard. “I’m a stage four cancer survivor and I’m on this tour to defend our attacks against the GOP. President Trump may have blocked me on Twitter, but he can’t stop me and the American people from fighting to protect our care.”

Baer, MacArdle, and Packard were joined by Delores Hogan Johnson, a two-time cancer survivor and Fort Pierce resident; Tobi Schelin, a local nurse practitioner; and Elena Hung, the co-founder of Little Lobbyists, a group which advocates for children with complex medical needs.

At today’s event, Fort Pierce residents, health care advocates, elected officials, and members of Protect Our Care detailed the numbers ways in which Republicans have attacked health care, and how these actions have cut coverage and increased costs for Floridians. Because of the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda:

  • Floridians will see their premiums increase by an average of more than five percent this year.  It’s expected that 40 year old Floridians will face paying an extra $900 for marketplace coverage in 2019 because of Republican sabotage of the health care market.
  •  In Florida, out of pocket costs for older people could have increased by as much as $10,372 by 2026 if the House-passed American Health Care Act had become law.
  • More than 650,000 Floridians have been denied access to affordable health coverage through Republican state officials’ refusal to expand Medicaid.
  • Junk insurance plans that charge money for skimpy coverage could return to Florida and 609,000 Floridians could lack comprehensive coverage in 2019 because they will either become uninsured or will be enrolled in junk plans that don’t provide key health benefits.
  • More than 1.4 million Floridians who have obtained health insurance through the ACA marketplace could lose their coverage if a judge sides with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi,  President Trump and the GOP in their lawsuit; and protections nearly 7.8 million Floridians living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy.
  • Hundreds of billions of dollars have been cut from Medicare.
  • Dozens of hospitals in rural areas, including Campbellton-Graceville Hospital in Florida (2017), have closed, exacerbating the care and coverage gaps that exist for families in America’s rural communities.
  • Governor Rick Scott has been an opponent of the Affordable Care Act since day one. Scott has blocked Medicaid expansion that could provide care for more than 650,000 Floridians, helped the Trump administration draft bills that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and he refuses to ask Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to remove herself from a lawsuit that threatens access to care for 7.8 million Floridians living with pre-existing conditions.
  • Rep. Brian Mast 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 condition; voted for a budget amendment that would cut Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone; voted for a tax scam that 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.

Ghost Of Christmas Past Comes Early

Bill Cassidy Tries Yet Again To Lie About Pre-existing Condition Protections

After Sen. Cassidy went on a notorious lying streak last fall trying to convince Americans that his health plan protected people with pre-existing conditions (it did not), he is back at it again.

SHOT: Bill Cassidy Says GOP Wants to Protect Pre-Existing Conditions

CHASER: Graham-Cassidy: The Most Dishonest Senate Bill Of All-Time?

  1. Politico: Kimmel, not Cassidy, is right on health care, analysts say
  2. Huffington Post: Bill Cassidy Says Jimmy Kimmel ‘Doesn’t Understand’ Health Care. Experts Say He Does.
  3. Washington Post: Three Pinocchios for Sen. Cassidy’s rebuttal to Jimmy Kimmel: ‘More people will have coverage’
  4. PolitiFact: Bill Cassidy offers misleading defense in face-off with Jimmy Kimmel
  5. ABC News: Fact check: Sen. Bill Cassidy on his health care bill assertions
  6. Washington Post: Cassidy-Graham and fuzzy math
  7. Bloomberg: Republicans Peddle Nonsense to Sell Health-Care Plan
  8. Vox: Cassidy is selling his health plan with misleading numbers
  9. Huffington Post: The Sponsors Of Obamacare Repeal Are Trying To Fool America — And Fellow Republicans
  10. Bloomberg: GOP Health Bill Would End Guarantee That Sick People Won’t Pay More
  11. Vox: Graham-Cassidy’s cuts are confusing. Let’s make them simple.
  12. Washington Post’s Health 202: Moderates would have to swallow deep Medicaid cuts for GOP health-care push to succeed
  13. Forbes: 6 Big Lies About Graham-Cassidy And Healthcare Reform And 1 Truth

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Republicans Are STILL Trying To End Protections For People WIth Pre-existing Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY: 2019 Open Enrollment Starts

Second Open Enrollment Period Under GOP Sabotage

People who need insurance should sign up for coverage starting November 1 and then show up to the polls on November 6,” says Leslie Dach

Washington, DC – Today begins the start of the sixth Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment period and the second that has been subjected to numerous acts of sabotage by President Trump and the GOP. In response to the start of this Open Enrollment period, which runs from November 1 through December 15, Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“The Affordable Care Act helps millions of Americans find quality health coverage, protects people with pre-existing conditions, and guarantees that insurance covers us when we get sick. But instead of supporting the law, the Trump Administration and this Republican Congress have done everything they can to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and undermine open enrollment. Republican sabotage has increased insurance premiums, ended almost all outreach and advertising in support of enrollment, and could eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions.

“The Republican war on health care is an outrage, and Americans will show their outrage on Election Day. People who need insurance should sign up for coverage starting November 1 and then show up to the polls on November 6 and send pro-repeal-and-sabotage Republicans packing.”