Last month, Republicans got a thumping at the polls in large part due to their continued health care repeal-and-sabotage efforts. Health care was the top issue among voters of all backgrounds, who handed Democrats control of the House, flipped seven governors’ mansions, and elected to expand health care, even in deep red states. Unfortunately, Republicans across the country and the Trump Administration didn’t get the memo, and their reckless agenda has continued unabated.
Here’s what they’ve been up to, and how their actions are harming Americans:
- THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S SABOTAGE OF OPEN ENROLLMENT IS PREVENTING INDIVIDUALS FROM OBTAINING COVERAGE
As open enrollment comes to its conclusion, individuals attempting to obtain coverage for 2019 have once again been harmed by Administration’s rampant sabotage efforts. The Administration slashed the sign-up period in half, cut navigator funding by 84 percent, pushed enrollment for junk plans which charge more money for less care and can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and again scheduled maintenance during the sign-up period. Taken together, these actions are expected to reduce Americans’ access to care, which national data is bearing out: A recent analysis of the first month of this year’s open enrollment period found that enrollment was down nearly 13 percent compared to last year.
- THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS KICKED THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS OFF THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE
The Trump Administration has doubled down on imposing onerous Medicaid requirements designed to make it even harder for Americans to access health care. On Sunday, the Administration filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit over its Arkansas-approved waiver, which has kicked more than 12,000 Arkansans off of their health insurance since its approval just three months ago.
Two weeks ago the Administration re-approved a Kentucky waiver containing work requirements, previously rejected by a federal judge who ruled the state failed to consider whether it would “in fact [help furnish] medical assistance to its citizens” and was estimated to kick 95,000 Kentuckians off of their insurance.”
The Administration has approved similar waivers in Indiana, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, all of which will kick Americans off of their insurance while failing to promote work, as study after study has shown.
- THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS PUSHING STATES TO ALLOW INSURANCE COMPANIES TO SELL JUNK PLANS THAT CIRCUMVENT CRUCIAL PROTECTIONS AMERICANS DEPEND ON
Last week, the Trump Administration issued new insurance guidance, encouraging states to “tear down pillars” of the Affordable Care Act. This move would allow federal subsidies to be used to purchase junk plans that are not required to cover pre-existing conditions, hospitalization, or prescription drugs. What will this mean?
- Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President of Kaiser Family Foundation: 1332 waiver guidance gives states much the same flexibility as repeal would. [Business Insider, 10/22/18]
- Timothy Jost, Washington and Lee University Law Professor: “Invariably, the coverage is going to be more expensive for people who really need comprehensive coverage.” [Kaiser Health News, 11/29/18]
- American Lung Association: New 1332 waiver guidance “Would further erode patient protections, undermine care for people with lung disease.” [American Lung Association, 11/29/18]
- HuffPost: Rule change “almost certainly means that, overall, people with serious medical problems are likely to have a harder time finding coverage.” [HuffPost, 10/22/18]
- Axios: Administration’s waiver “could add up to one of its most substantive blows yet against the affordable care act.” [Axios, 10/23/18]
- THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ALSO APPEARS TO BE STEERING MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES TO PRIVATE PLANS
In another potential giveaway to Big Insurance from the Trump Administration, emails sent to Medicare beneficiaries by HHS appear to be steering them to private Medicare Advantage programs, over Medicare. Said Richard S. Foster, formerly the nonpartisan actuary of the Medicare program, told the New York Times the emails sounded “more like Medicare Advantage plan advertising than objective information from a public agency.”
- THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS CAUSED THE CHILDREN’S UNINSURED RATE TO DRASTICALLY INCREASE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS
Last week, the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families released a new report on the uninsured rate for children, and for the first time, the number and rate of uninsured children in the United States went up. Trump-GOP health care sabotage are chief among the reasons for the increase.
- THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES TO TRY TO END PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS PROTECTIONS IN COURT, AS PART OF A COORDINATED GOP EFFORT TO REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND RIP HEALTH CARE AWAY FROM MILLIONS
Any day now, a conservative federal judge in Texas is expected to rule on a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Republican attorneys general, and supported by the Trump Administration, that is designed to overturn the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
- WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO DENY THE DULY ELECTED INCOMING DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR AND ATTORNEY GENERAL THE AUTHORITY TO PULL WISCONSIN OUT THE LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN THE ACA AND END PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS PROTECTIONS
Despite polls showing health care was the top issue for Wisconsin voters — and that they overwhelmingly favored Democrats on it, propelling them to victory in statewide race — Wisconsin Republicans passed legislation that seeks to deny the duly elected incoming Democratic Governor and Attorney General from withdrawing participation in Walker-Schimel-Trump’s assault on pre-existing conditions in federal court.
- TRUMP ADMINISTRATION APPROVES FLORIDA’S REQUEST TO RESTRICT RETROACTIVE MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY
Early this week, Florida received federal approval to shorten the amount of time people who sign up for Medicaid have for retroactive eligibility from 90 days to just 30. Critics charge that this change will hurt both patients and providers and that it will limit access to health care services for older patients and people with disabilities.
…MEANWHILE, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION GLOSSES OVER ITS RECORD WITH PHONY, FANCY “REPORTS”
A so-called “report” from the Department of Health and Human Services was actually “stuffed with conservative talking points” and “potshots at the Affordable Care Act,” according to Axios, rather than any substantive information about how the Trump administration plans to address the top health care concerns of the American people: lowering the cost of prescription drugs, ending junk insurance plans, funding Medicaid and Medicare and maintaining pre-existing conditions protections.