Monthly Archives

March 2019

SHOT/CHASER: Kevin McCarthy Says Trump’s Health Care Lawsuit Makes No Sense, But GOP Voted For It

SHOT: Scoop: Kevin McCarthy Tells Trump New Health Care Push Makes No Sense. “McCarthy told Trump over the phone that the decision made no sense — especially after Democrats killed Republicans in the midterms in part over the issue of pre-existing conditions.” [Axios, 3/27/19]

CHASER: 194 House Republicans voted FOR Trump’s lawsuit earlier this year

CHASER: 217 House Republicans voted FOR Trump’s health care repeal bill in 2017

“A Two-Year Anchor Around The Neck Of Every Republican” Trump Lawsuit Reignites Health Care As The 2020 Issue

On Monday night in an extraordinarily callous move, the Trump Administration announced that it would fully support a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. This decision comes less than six months after health care led Democrats to an overwhelming victory during the midterm elections. By once again trying to strip millions of their coverage, one thing has become clear to everyone watching: health care will be a defining issue of the 2020 elections, and Republicans are once again setting themselves up for defeat.

Vox: Trump Just Guaranteed Health Care Will Be A Huge Issue In The 2020 Election. “President Trump just guaranteed health care will remain a dominant issue through the 2020 presidential campaign, opening up a massive vulnerability in his reelection bid…The Justice Department’s move is stunning, considering the price House Republicans paid in the 2018 midterms for attempting to repeal the law in Congress. Health care was the top issue for voters, beating out the economy, immigration, and guns. The voters who named health care as their top issue overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates — helping flip control of the House from Republicans to Democrats.” [Vox, 3/26/19]

New York Times: Democrats Pivot Hard To Health Care After Trump Moves To Strike Down Affordable Care Act. “For Democrats, the Justice Department motion to invalidate the health law could not have come at a more opportune time. With the special counsel’s report failing to find a criminal conspiracy between President Trump’s campaign and Russia’s efforts to influence the election, Ms. Pelosi — who was celebrating her birthday on Tuesday — was already pressing to move her party back to the kitchen-table issues that they believe will shape the 2020 campaign. In 2018, Democrats campaigned — and won — on their pledge to keep the law’s protections for pre-existing medical conditions, and are planning to roll out their own health care agenda with much fanfare at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.” [New York Times, 3/26/19]

CNN: Unlike Mueller, Health Care Will Likely Be A Top Issue In 2020. “The biggest 2020 news this week is not the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. It’s that President Donald Trump’s administration has asserted for the first time that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down. Health care has consistently been listed by voters as a top issue to their vote…I would expect health care’s importance to 2020 voters to go up in the coming weeks and months. When health care has been in the news previously during the Trump administration, its importance to voters has risen.” [CNN, 3/26/19]

Wall Street Journal: Democrats Signal Renewed Focus On Health Care After Mueller Findings. “House Democratic leaders are signaling a renewed emphasis on health care and other issues over opposition to President Trump even as they press for the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about obstruction and Russian election interference… Pointing to a filing by the Justice Department late Monday that asked a court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Clyburn said health care is ‘the No. 1 thing on people’s minds.’” [Wall Street Journal, 3/26/19]

Politico: Dems Roar Back On Health Care After DOJ Looks To Erase ACA. “Following a surprise announcement from the Trump administration that it agrees with a ruling that would invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, Democrats seized on the same health care messaging that helped drive them to victory in 2018.” [Politico, 3/27/19]

Washington Post: “Many Democrats Appeared Eager To Pivot Back To Health Care, An Issue That Cut Their Way During Last Year’s Midterm Elections.” “Many Democrats appeared eager to pivot back to health care, an issue that cut their way during last year’s midterm elections, after a summary of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report suggested it was far less damaging to Trump than many had expected. Democrats planned to roll out new health-care legislation Tuesday afternoon and saw an opportunity to capi­tal­ize politically from a new legal filing by the Justice Department late Monday that said the Trump administration backs a full invalidation of the Affordable Care Act.” [Washington Post, 3/26/19]

Bloomberg: Trump Health-Care Miss Gives Democrats A Perfect Pivot. “Just as things were starting to look better for President Donald Trump, he seems intent on squandering any political advantage. Republicans lost big in the 2018 midterm elections due in large part to failed efforts to dismantle the increasingly popular Affordable Care Act. Instead of learning a lesson, the Trump administration is doubling down…The decision is a gift for Democrats, who plan to release a set of bills on Tuesday afternoon that would shore up the law. It allows them to refocus on an issue they know is a winner and unite the party behind a common cause as they figure out where to go next in health care.” [Bloomberg, 3/26/19]

Buzzfeed News: Democrats Are Thrilled With Trump Reigniting The Pre-existing Conditions Debate. “Fresh off some of his most triumphant days in office, President Donald Trump has expanded his attack on the Affordable Care Act, a move that has baffled Republicans and Democrats alike…the anti-Obamacare lawsuit and the pre-existing conditions debate have been nightmares for Republicans. Pre-existing conditions became one of the main lines of attack for Democrats during the 2018 midterms, and even Republicans concede it worked. Democrats signaled they are happy to take up that fight again in the 2020 election cycle.” [Buzzfeed News, 3/26/19]

Reason: “Heading Into Next Year’s Election, Democrats Will Almost Certainly Attempt To Capitalize On The Trump Administration’s Decision Not To Defend The Rest Of The Law.” Arguably the single most effective argument Democrats had in last year’s midterms was that they would preserve Obamacare and its preexisting conditions rules. That is was exit polls indicate, and it is also what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) told fellow House Republicans behind closed doors earlier this year. Heading into next year’s election, Democrats will almost certainly attempt to capitalize on the Trump administration’s decision not to defend the rest of the law, including the Medicaid expansion that provides health coverage for millions and the subsidies for middle class people buying private insurance on the ACA’s exchanges. (Even before last night’s filing, Democrats signaled they would make Obamacare a major campaign theme.)” [Reason, 3/26/19]

NPR: “Upending The Law Could Prove Politically Dangerous For The Trump Administration And Republicans Who Are Backing The Law’s Repeal.” “The ACA’s popularity played a role in Democrats’ success in the 2018 elections, when they took back the House. Upending the law could prove politically dangerous for the Trump administration and Republicans who are backing the law’s repeal.Democrats were quick to criticize the move.” [NPR, 3/26/19]

Philip Bump, Washington Post Columnist: “The Trump Administration’s Renewed Focus On Eliminating Obamacare Is A Baffling Political Move.” “On Election Day, the importance of health care was revealed in exit polling. Four in 10 voters said that health care was the most important issue, and Democrats won those voters by a 3-to-1 margin. In other words, a full 30 percent of the electorate said that they considered health care to be the most important issue and then voted for a Democrat in their local House race…That lawsuit against the ACA was a key part of Democratic rhetoric…It’s hard to overstate what a strange political decision this is for Trump.” [Washington Post, 3/26/19]

Andy Slavitt For USA Today: Trump Wants To Drop A Neutron Bomb On The Affordable Care Act. Over To You, 2020 Voters. “Only 24 hours after what he sees as a vindication of his presidency by Attorney General William Barr, President Donald Trump took the most radical, aggressive and harmful move of his presidency when he filed papers to ask the courts to support the complete elimination of the Affordable Care Act. And in doing so, Trump just framed the stakes of the 2020 election.” [USA Today, 3/27/19]

 

Elected officials, experts, and political commentators agree — health care will be the issue of 2020:

Joe Scarborough: “Health Care Will Be The Issue That Determines Who Wins Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, And Florida — And The White House.” [Morning Joe, 3/27/19]

Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg Political Reporter: “This Is A Helluva Gift From The Trump Administration To Democrats.” “This is a helluva gift from the Trump administration to Democrats. Health care was the #1 issue for 2018 voters and Dems won those voters 75-23% running on ACA and pre-existing condition rules, which DOJ now says should be voided.” [Sahil Kapur Twitter, 3/25/19]

Dan Sena, Former Executive Director Of DCCC: “Mr. President, With Respect. You Just Lost A Historic Number Of Seats On This.” “Mr. President, with respect. You just lost a historic number of seats on this. You controlled all three chambers and missed the mark then. Age taxes and weakening coverage for prex conditions isn’t a winning strategy for you. Trust me on this one.” [Sena Twitter, 3/27/19]

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): “They Are Literally Teeing This Up As An Issue For Democrats For The Next Year And A Half.” “‘It’s hard to figure out,’ said Sen. Chris Murphy. ‘They literally are teeing this up as an issue for Democrats for the next year and a half. They’re not even making a laughable attempt to save the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act.’” [Buzzfeed News, 3/26/19]

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): This Legal Position Is “A Two-Year Anchor Around The Neck Of Every Republican.” [Buzzfeed News, 3/26/19]

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA): It’s “Not Only Immoral, It’s A Really Bad Political Decision For Them.” “‘It’s really outrageous. I don’t understand if Republicans weren’t present for the last election, but if there was an issue that was deeply critical, it was health care,’ Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said after the meeting. It’s ‘not only immoral, it’s a really bad political decision for them,’ she added.” [Politico, 3/26/19]

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL): Trump Has “Revived The Most Important Issue In The 2018 Election.” “‘It turns the page back to our issue,’ said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The Trump administration has ‘revived the most important issue in the 2018 election and they couldn’t have done it more convincingly than to say that Trump and his White House are out to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.’” [Politico, 3/26/19]

Protect Our Care Applauds Chairman Frank Pallone, Rep. Andy Kim, And Other House Democrats’ Aggressive “Lower Costs, Better Care” Legislation

Washington, DC – Following Chairman Pallone and House Democrats unveiling of sweeping health care legislation today, including Congressman Andy Kim’s State Allowance for a Variety of Exchanges (SAVE) Act, which would provide states with $200 million in federal funds to establish state-based Marketplaces, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Protect Our Care applauds Congressman Kim and House Democrats for unveiling aggressive health care legislation today that lower costs, improves care and ends Republican sabotage. The bill lowers premiums and deductibles for millions, protects people with preexisting conditions and takes power away from insurance companies and gives it back to patients.

“While Democrats move forward today, President Trump is taking his most aggressive step yet in his relentless war on America’s health care, demanding that the entire ACA  be thrown out, ripping apart the nation’s health care system. The contrast could not be clearer: Democrats are more focused than ever on delivering their promise of lower costs and better care, while Trump and his allies in Congress continue to do everything in their power to take health care away from millions of Americans.”

Background

H.R.1385, the “State Allowance For A Variety Of Exchanges (SAVE) Act” would provide states with $200 million in federal funds to establish state-based Marketplaces. Under current law, federal funds are no longer available for states to set up state-based Marketplaces.

Lower Health Care Costs. The House bill would reduce health care premiums and deductibles, expand eligibility for financial assistance that helps consumers afford coverage, and expand access to affordable health care by guaranteeing affordable care options.

  • Coverage for less than ten percent of your income. Under the bill, nearly all Americans would be guaranteed an option to purchase health care for less than 10 percent of their income.

  • Financial assistance for more people. Premium tax credits would be made available to more middle class Americans, including those with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty line or roughly $100,400 for a family of four.

  • Lowering premiums. By creating a national reinsurance program the House legislation would help further reduce premiums.

Better Care For More People. The bill would restrict insurance companies’ ability to sell plans that gut circumvent important consumer protections. By helping to lower costs, the House bill would also expand access to comprehensive, affordable care for even more people.

  • Lowering premiums, deductibles, or both for more than 13 million people currently insured and providing lower cost options for 12 million uninsured people. In all, the bill’s extended tax credits, reinsurance programs and premium assistance would cut premiums for all ACA-compliant plans sold on the individual market, reducing premiums or deductibles for 13 million with individual market coverage and creating lower cost options for 12 million uninsured people eligible for coverage through the marketplace.

  • Protecting people with pre-existing conditions. The legislation would stop the Trump administration’s plans to allow insurance companies to sell junk plans that deny people with pre-existing conditions coverage or charge them more.

  • Guaranteeing that insurance companies cover basic health services. The bill would also prevent the Trump administration from weakening requirements that all insurance cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, hospital care, and maternity coverage.

  • Taking power away from insurance companies and gives it back to patients. While the Trump administration gives insurance companies the power to flood the market with junk plans and rewards them with massive tax breaks, this bill reinstates important protections for American consumers, giving power back to patients.

End Sabotage. Since taking office, the Trump administration has worked relentlessly to sabotage Americans’ health care, expanding access to junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions and slashing funding to help people sign up for comprehensive, affordable care.

  • Restoring funding for education. The House bill would restore marketing funding for heatlh care sold through the marketplace, which the Trump administration has cut by 90 percent since taking office.

  • Restoring funding for groups that help people sign up for coverage. Funding for health navigator groups that help people sign up for comprehensive care, which has been cut by 77 percent since the President Trump took office, would also be restored.

Protect Our Care Applauds Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats’ Aggressive “Lower Costs, Better Care” Legislation

Washington, DC — Following Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats unveiling of sweeping health care legislation today, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Protect Our Care applauds Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats for unveiling aggressive health care legislation today that lower costs, improves care and ends Republican sabotage. The bill lowers premiums and deductibles for millions, protects people with preexisting conditions and takes power away from insurance companies and gives it back to patients. While Democrats move forward today, President Trump is taking his most aggressive step yet in his relentless war on America’s health care, demanding that the entire ACA be thrown out, ripping apart the nation’s health care system.

“The contrast could not be clearer: Democrats are more focused than ever on delivering their promise of lower costs and better care, while Trump and his allies in Congress continue to do everything in their power to take health care away from millions of Americans.”

Background:

Lower Health Care Costs. The House bill would reduce health care premiums and deductibles, expand eligibility for financial assistance that helps consumers afford coverage, and expand access to affordable health care by guaranteeing affordable care options.

  • Coverage for less than ten percent of your income. Under the bill, nearly all Americans would be guaranteed an option to purchase health care for less than 10 percent of their income.
  • Financial assistance for more people. Premium tax credits would be made available to more middle class Americans, including those with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty line or roughly $100,400 for a family of four.
  • Lowering premiums. By creating a national reinsurance program the House legislation would help further reduce premiums.

Better Care For More People. The bill would restrict insurance companies’ ability to sell plans that gut circumvent important consumer protections. By helping to lower costs, the House bill would also expand access to comprehensive, affordable care for even more people.

  • Lowering premiums, deductibles, or both for more than 13 million people currently insured and providing lower cost options for 12 million uninsured people. In all, the bill’s extended tax credits, reinsurance programs and premium assistance would cut premiums for all ACA-compliant plans sold on the individual market, reducing premiums or deductibles for 13 million with individual market coverage and creating lower cost options for 12 million uninsured people eligible for coverage through the marketplace.
  • Protecting people with pre-existing conditions. The legislation would stop the Trump administration’s plans to allow insurance companies to sell junk plans that deny people with pre-existing conditions coverage or charge them more.
  • Guaranteeing that insurance companies cover basic health services. The bill would also prevent the Trump administration from weakening requirements that all insurance cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, hospital care, and maternity coverage.
  • Taking power away from insurance companies and gives it back to patients. While the Trump administration gives insurance companies the power to flood the market with junk plans and rewards them with massive tax breaks, this bill reinstates important protections for American consumers, giving power back to patients.

End Sabotage. Since taking office, the Trump administration has worked relentlessly to sabotage Americans’ health care, expanding access to junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions and slashing funding to help people sign up for comprehensive, affordable care. 

  • Restoring funding for education. The House bill would restore marketing funding for heatlh care sold through the marketplace, which the Trump administration has cut by 90 percent since taking office.
  • Restoring funding for groups that help people sign up for coverage. Funding for health navigator groups that help people sign up for comprehensive care, which has been cut by 77 percent since the President Trump took office, would also be restored.

Lower Costs, Better Care: House Democrats Unveil Sweeping Health Bill

After winning the Midterm elections by vowing to fight for Americans’ health care, Democrats in the House of Representatives are making good on their promises by introducing sweeping legislation to achieve lower costs and better care. While House Democrats take concrete steps to make our health care system work better for the American people, the Trump administration and its Republican allies are doing just the opposite: proposing to cut Medicare and Medicaid by $2 trillion, gutting protections for preexisting conditions, and throwing the full weight of the Justice Department behind overthrowing the Affordable Care Act in the Texas lawsuit.

This bill is only the start for the Democrats’ agenda which will ultimately include further efforts to rein in prescription drug costs and end surprise hospital bills. Here’s how the proposed legislation will work for Americans:

Lower Health Care Costs. The House bill would reduce health care premiums and deductibles, expand eligibility for financial assistance that helps consumers afford coverage, and expand access to affordable health care by guaranteeing affordable care options.

  • Coverage for less than ten percent of your income. Under the bill, nearly all Americans would be guaranteed an option to purchase health care for less than 10 percent of their income.
  • Financial assistance for more people. Premium tax credits would be made available to more middle class Americans, including those with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty line or roughly $100,400 for a family of four.
  • Lowering premiums. By creating a national reinsurance program the House legislation would help further reduce premiums.

Better Care For More People. The bill would restrict insurance companies’ ability to sell plans that gut circumvent important consumer protections. By helping to lower costs, the House bill would also expand access to comprehensive, affordable care for even more people.

    • Lowering premiums, deductibles, or both for more than 13 million people currently insured and providing lower cost options for 12 million uninsured people. In all, the bill’s extended tax credits, reinsurance programs and premium assistance would cut premiums for all ACA-compliant plans sold on the individual market, reducing premiums or deductibles for 13 million with individual market coverage and creating lower cost options for 12 million uninsured people eligible for coverage through the marketplace.
  • Protecting people with pre-existing conditions. The legislation would stop the Trump administration’s plans to allow insurance companies to sell junk plans that deny people with pre-existing conditions coverage or charge them more.
  • Guaranteeing that insurance companies cover basic health services. The bill would also prevent the Trump administration from weakening requirements that all insurance cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, hospital care, and maternity coverage.
  • Taking power away from insurance companies and gives it back to patients. While the Trump administration gives insurance companies the power to flood the market with junk plans and rewards them with massive tax breaks, this bill reinstates important protections for American consumers, giving power back to patients.

End Sabotage. Since taking office, the Trump administration has worked relentlessly to sabotage Americans’ health care, expanding access to junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions and slashing funding to help people sign up for comprehensive, affordable care.

  • Restoring funding for education. The House bill would restore marketing funding for heatlh care sold through the marketplace, which the Trump administration has cut by 90 percent since taking office.
  • Restoring funding for groups that help people sign up for coverage. Funding for health navigator groups that help people sign up for comprehensive care, which has been cut by 77 percent since the President Trump took office, would also be restored.

“A Total Bombshell” With “Dire Consequences”: Media and Experts Agree Trump Administration Decision Will Raise Costs and Destroy Health Care for Millions

After last night’s announcement that the Trump Justice Department would throw its full weight behind overthrowing the Affordable Care Act in the Texas lawsuit, media outlets and legal scholars explained the dire consequences a full repeal would have on tens of millions of Americans. Not only would costs go up for millions of Americans, but people would get worse care because insurance companies would be able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and not cover key benefits like maternity care or prescription drugs.

Media Reports:

The New York Times: “The New Position Is Also Certain To Reignite A Political Furor Over The Affordable Care Act, Ensuring That it Will Figure Even More Prominently In The 2020 Elections.” “The Trump administration broadened its attack on the Affordable Care Act on Monday, telling a federal appeals court that it now believed the entire law should be invalidated. The administration had previously said that the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down, but that the rest of the law, including the expansion of Medicaid, should survive. If the appeals court accepts the Trump administration’s new arguments, millions of people could lose health insurance, including those who gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid and those who have private coverage subsidized by the federal government.” [The New York Times, 3/25/19]

Washington Examiner: Trump Hands Democrats Their 2020 Attack Strategy. “Democrats credit campaigning on healthcare as key to propeling them to victory in the House during the midterm elections, and the latest action by President Trump’s Department of Justice asking a federal appeals court to invalidate all of Obamacare gives them ammunition heading into 2020…Democrats have tailored their messaging to say they are united on achieving the goal of universal healthcare, and cast Republicans as determined to take coverage away from people.” [Washington Examiner, 3/26/19]

Bloomberg: Trump Asks Courts To Erase Obamacare In Risky 2020 Election Move. “The Trump administration is hardening its legal position toward Obamacare, arguing now the entire law is unconstitutional in a shift that promises to bring the issue to the forefront of the 2020 election campaign. The position is a change for the Justice Department after it argued last year that large parts of the 2010 law — but not all of it — should be struck in the case Texas v. U.S., which is pending before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.” [Bloomberg, 3/26/19]

Intelligencer: “It’s A Bit Odd That The DOJ Would Act To Repeal A Popular Law On An Issue That Democrats Ran And Won On In The Midterms.” “Coming off the heels of a clear political victory, it’s a bit odd that the DOJ would act to repeal a popular law on an issue that Democrats ran and won on in the midterms. Democrats have a clear advantage on health care, and the party’s 2020 frontrunners only intend to expand on coverage options. To remind voters that the GOP still wants to strip away provisions that expand care to millions of Americans seems like an unforced error on the issue voters care about most.” [Intelligencer, 3/26/19]

Vox: “The Trump Administration’s Clear, Consistent And Unequivocal Position Is That Millions Of People Should Lose Their Health Insurance And That People Should Not Be Protected From Discrimination Based On Their Medical History.” “The Justice Department said in a brief filed on Monday that the administration supports a recent district court decision that invalidated all of Obamacare. So it is now the official position of President Trump’s administration that all of the ACA — the private insurance markets that cover 15 million Americans, the Medicaid expansion that covers another 15 million, and the protections for people with preexisting conditions and other regulations — should be nullified. When combined with Trump’s endorsement of the various Republican legislative plans to repeal and replace Obamacare and other regulatory actions pursued by his subordinates, the Trump administration’s clear, consistent and unequivocal position is that millions of people should lose their health insurance and that people should not be protected from discrimination based on their medical history.” [Vox, 3/25/19]

CNN: “This Shift In The Justice Department’s Stance Doubles Down On Stripping Away All The Protections That Were A Hallmark Of The Landmark Health Reform Law.” “Trump and the administration repeatedly promised — particularly leading up to the midterm election — to protect people with less-than-perfect medical histories. But this shift in the Justice Department’s stance doubles down on stripping away all the protections that were a hallmark of the landmark health reform law. The administration’s move didn’t only startle supporters of the law. One former official who worked under Sessions told CNN Monday night that he, too, was surprised by the new position.” [CNN, 3/26/19]

Inside Health Policy: Urban Institute: Uninsured Rate Would Spike 65 Percent If ACA Undone. “Eliminating the Affordable Care Act would cause the uninsured rate to increase by at least 65 percent and cause the amount of uncompensated care to grow by at least 82 percent, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. Annual spending by the federal government on health care for the nonelderly would fall by $134.7 billion under a full repeal of the ACA, while aggregate state spending on health care would fall by $9.6 billion, according to the study.” [Inside Health Policy, 3/26/19]

Axios: “If DOJ Ultimately Gets Its Way Here, The Ripple Effects Would Be Cataclysmic.” “The Justice Department now wants the courts to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act — not just its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This is a stunning escalation, raising both the real-world and political stakes in a lawsuit where both the real-world and political stakes were already very high… If DOJ ultimately gets its way here, the ripple effects would be cataclysmic. The ACA’s insurance exchanges would go away. So would its Medicaid expansion. Millions would lose their coverage. The FDA would lose the authority to approve an entire class of drugs.” [Axios, 3/26/19]

Politico: “The Consequences Could Be Substantial For Patients, Health Care Organizations And Other Groups That Have Adapted To The Nine-Year-Old Law.” “Regardless of the outcome, legal experts anticipate that the 5th Circuit’s ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. If the courts ultimately strike down Obamacare — over the objections of a group of Democrat-led states, which have spent more than a year defending the health law in court — the consequences could be substantial for patients, health care organizations and other groups that have adapted to the nine-year-old law. More than 20 million Americans are covered through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and its insurance exchanges. The sweeping law — the object of repeated legal challenges since its 2010 passage — has transformed the nation’s health system, creating new patient protections and reshaping payments for doctors and hospitals.” [Politico, 3/25/19]

 

Experts:

Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President Of Kaiser Family Foundation: “This Sets Up A Clear Contrast For The 2020 General Election On Health Care.” The Trump administration is now arguing in court that the whole ACA should be thrown out, including pre-existing condition protections. The president’s budget also proposes repeal and replace of the ACA. This sets up a clear contrast for the 2020 general election on health care.” [Larry Levitt Twitter, 3/25/19]

Jonathan Adler, Conservative Law Scholar: “The Justice Department’s Change In Position Is Astounding.” “According to a letter filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, DOJ now believes that the district court’s judgment should be upheld. In other words, the Department of Justice has decided not to defend any portion of the ACA. The Justice Department’s change in position is astounding. It was remarkable enough that DOJ failed to question the states’ standing to challenge an unenforced and unenforceable mandate, and even more remarkable that the Department failed to defend a readily defensible federal law. It is more remarkable still that the DOJ is abandoning its position — and the position on severability advanced by the Obama Administration — in favor of a highly strained and implausible approach to severability with little grounding or precedent.” [Reason, 3/25/19]

Philip Klein, Prominent Critic Of ACA: “Whatever One’s Policy Views, The Legal Argument Is A Mess From Start To Finish.” “As somebody who has been a critic of Obamacare since it’s early days as a campaign proposal, I’d obviously love for the law to be entirely repealed. But what the Trump administration Department of Justice has just done is to latch onto a bizarre legal theory in an effort to get rid of the law without having to go through Congress…Whatever one’s policy views, the legal argument is a mess from start to finish…As much as I’d like to see Obamacare disappear so that it can be replaced with a free market health care system, in the long-run, it’s more important to me as a conservative that courts are not used as a legislative body for people to obtain the policy outcomes that they want but can’t pass through Congress.” [Washington Examiner, 3/26/19]

Timothy Jost, Professor Of Law At Washington And Lee University School Of Law: Filing Reflects “A Strictly Political Decision, Not A Legal Decision.” “Timothy S. Jost, an emeritus professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, called the Justice Department’s new position ‘crazy’ and ‘legally untenable.’ ‘I can’t believe that even the 5th Circuit would take that position,’ he said in an interview, suggesting that arguably the nation’s most conservative appeals court would still be reluctant to accept the reasoning backed by the administration. ‘It would be like invalidating the Interstate Highway System, causing chaos on an unimaginable scale. It’s conceivable that the entire Medicare payment system would collapse.’ The filing reflected ‘a strictly political decision, not a legal decision,’ Jost said. ‘Trump has wanted to get rid of the ACA, and I guess he sees an opportunity here. He thinks maybe he can get the 5th Circuit to go along and, ultimately, maybe the Supreme Court.'” [Washington Post, 3/26/19]

Abbe Gluck, Professor Of Law At Yale: DOJ Decision Is “Total Bombshell, Which Could Have Dire Consequences For Millions Of People.” “‘The Justice Department is no longer asking for partial invalidation of the Affordable Care Act, but says the whole law should be struck down,’ Abbe R. Gluck, a law professor at Yale who has closely followed the litigation, said on Monday. ‘Not just some of the insurance provisions, but all of it, including the Medicaid expansion and hundreds of other reforms. That’s a total bombshell, which could have dire consequences for millions of people.’” [The New York Times, 3/25/19]

Nicholas Bagley, Professor Of Law At University Of Michigan On DOJ’s New Position: “The Sheer Irresponsibility…It’s Breathtaking.” “‘The sheer irresponsibility of the notion that you would rip the Affordable Care Act out of the American health-care system without having any prospect for a transition plan, or much less a replacement, is extraordinary,’ Bagley said. ‘It’s breathtaking.’” [Washington Post, 3/26/19]

Protect Our Care Statement on the Trump Administration’s Reckless Decision to Support Ruling to Dismantle the Entire Health Care System

Washington, DC — Monday, the Trump Administration took their war on health care to a new level by informing the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they supported the overthrow of the entire health care system by overturning the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In response, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“The Trump Administration’s support for overturning the entire Affordable Care Act is a reckless escalation of their war on health care that puts the care of millions of Americans at risk. With his latest attack on our health care system, President Trump confirmed what we all know to be true: he and Republicans are hell bent to take away protections for more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, rip coverage away from millions, and raising costs for countless more.

“In November, voters overwhelmingly rejected President Trump’s health care repeal and sabotage agenda, yet he remains dead set on accomplishing through the courts what he and his allies in Congress couldn’t do legislatively: fully repeal the law, devastate American health care and leave millions of Americans at risk.”

BACKGROUND:

If the Affordable Care Act is struck down:

  • GONE: Protections for 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The uninsured rate will increase by 65 percent.
  • GONE: Medicaid expansion, which covers 17 million people.
  • GONE: Nearly 12 million seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ will be reopened.
  • GONE: 2.3 million adult children will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance.
  • GONE: Insurance companies will be able to charge women 50 percent more than men.
  • GONE: Financial assistance that helps 9 million people purchase health care in the marketplace.
  • GONE: Key support for rural hospitals. As Americans lose coverage, already struggling hospitals will be hit even harder as their costs increase.
  • GONE: Ban on insurance companies having lifetime caps on coverage.
  • GONE: Requirements that insurance companies cover prescription drugs and maternity care.

Protect Our Care Commends Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats For Introducing Aggressive Legislation On Health Care

Washington, DC — After Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats announced they will be unveiling sweeping legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, lowering premiums and stopping the Trump Administration’s health care sabotage, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Protect Our Care strongly supports efforts by House Democrats to protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower costs, improve care, and push back on the Trump Administration’s reckless acts of sabotage. In November, the American people said they want aggressive action, and the legislation Democrats are unveiling on Tuesday is a giant step in that direction. It stands in stark contrast to President Trump’s ongoing war on America’s health care and his budget that cuts Medicaid and Medicare by nearly two trillion dollars and ends protections for people with pre-existing conditions by repealing the Affordable Care Act.”

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Protect Our Care, Along with Elected Officials and Health Care Advocates, Hold Events Nationwide Marking the 9th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

This week, Protect Our Care and partners across the country marked the 9th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by holding press events with elected officials and health care advocates to highlight the positive impact the ACA has had for millions of Americans. Leaders and storytellers in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina and Ohio came together to discuss exactly what’s still stake in the ongoing battle against Republican’s continued efforts to repeal the law, and how Democrats in Congress can move forward with their agenda of lower costs and better care for all Americans. Speakers at these events discussed how this agenda will protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower drug costs, end price gouging for everyday drugs like insulin, and make health care more affordable for millions of people.

Throughout the week, Protect Our Care and our state allies held events and penned opinion pieces touting the benefits of the ACA and calling for an end to Republican sabotage. On Thursday, Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ) joined health care storytellers on a press call stating, “Millions of families in New Jersey rely on protections from the Affordable Care Act to ensure they get the coverage they need. Congress should put partisan politics aside and work together to deliver the American people the health care they need and deserve.”

In addition to the press call, Protect Our Care was joined by state delegates and health care advocates at press conferences and rallies in Anchorage, Phoenix, Denver, Cleveland, Atlanta, Des Moines, Augusta, and Raleigh. Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME) held a health care town hall with constituents at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine. Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) spoke at the event in Atlanta, stating, “The Republicans did everything they could to repeal and there was no replacement. In November of 2018, the people spoke, and we will make sure that excessive repeal does not happen again on our watch.”

In Ohio, the Dayton City Commission, led by Mayor Nan Whaley, passed a resolution affirming support for the Affordable Care Act, stressing the importance of the ACA to Ohioans and criticized constant efforts to repeal or sabotage the law. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) joined the press event in Cleveland saying, “As we recognize the anniversary of the ACA, we must recommit ourselves to fighting any form of health care sabotage – from junk insurance plans to provisions hidden in trade renegotiations that would make prescription drug prices soar. We need to work together to improve health care for all Americans, and not make it harder for them to access the care and medication they need.”

 

Alaska

Press Conference in Anchorage

Speakers: Valerie Davidson, former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska

                  Susanna Orr, former Commissioner of Health and Social Services

                  Alaskan health care storyteller who recently lost her husband due to medical complications

                  Representatives from the Alaska Nurses Association

                 Representatives Alaska Children’s Trust

 

Arizona

Press Conference at State Capitol

Speakers: State Rep. Kelli Butler

                   State Rep. Pam Powers-Hannley

                  State Rep. Dr. Randy Friese.

 

Colorado

Rally Outside Senator Gardner’s Office

Speakers: Laura Packard, co-chair Health Care Voter

                  Representative from ProgressNow Colorado

                  Representative from Colorado Common Cause

 

Clip: Steamboat Pilot & Today: Let’s make the Affordable Care Act better by Robin Schepper

 

Georgia

Press Conference in Atlanta

Speakers: Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-4)

                  Georgia House Minority Leader Bob Trammell

                  State Rep. Mary Robichaux

                  State Rep. Betsy Holland

                 State Rep. Erick Allen.

 

Clip: Athens Banner Herald: “On ACA’s 9th Anniversary, threats remain while popularity soars” by State Rep. Spencer Frye

 

Iowa

Press Conference in Des Moines

Speakers: State Sen. Joe Bolkcom

                  State Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell

                  Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director of Iowa Citizen Action Network

                  Emily Holley, Des Moines resident

 

Maine

Health Care Town Hall with Congressman Jared Golden in Farmington, ME

From the town hall: “I’ve been all around the Second District since taking office, meeting Mainers in their communities, listening to them, and finding ways we can work together to get things done for our state,” said Congressman Golden. “I’m looking forward to hearing from folks in Franklin County and discussing solutions that make health care more affordable for everyone in our state.”

 

Press Conference at State House

Speakers: State Sen. David Miramant

                  Anne Perry, nurse practitioner and former State Rep.

 

Clip: WVII (ABC): Nine years since the Affordable Care Act Passed

 

New Jersey

Press Call with Protect Our Care

Speakers: Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-3)

                  Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach

                  Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse

                  Little Lobbyists mom Angela Eilers (Yorba Linda, CA)

                  Health care advocate Laurel Smith (Medford, NJ)

 

North Carolina

Press Conference at State General Assembly

Speakers: State Rep. Christy Clark

                   State Rep. Nasif Majeed

                  State Rep. Evelyn Terry

                  State Rep. Mary Belk

                  State Rep. Carolyn Logan

                  State Rep. Amos Quick

 

Clip: Spectrum News NC: Press conference marking the upcoming 9th anniversary of #ACA. Speaking about expanding Medicaid under Affordable Care Act.

 

Ohio

City of Dayton Passed Resolution Reaffirming Support for the Affordable Care Act [WATCH]

 

On Thursday, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley passed a resolution affirming support for the Affordable Care Act. The Dayton City Commission stressed the importance of the ACA to Ohioans and criticized constant efforts to repeal and sabotage the law.

 

Press Conference in Cleveland

Speakers: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9)

                      Yvonne Oliver, local health care advocate

                     John Kennedy, Ohioan with a pre-existing condition

 

Lower Costs, Better Care: Ninth Anniversary of the Passage of the ACA is an Opportunity to Define Health Care Agenda

Washington, DC – Ahead of the ninth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this Saturday, March 23, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“As we mark the ninth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to remind ourselves what the law has accomplished and what President Trump and his allies in Congress want to take away. While the President doubles down on his efforts to repeal our health care and release a budget with nearly $2 trillion in devastating cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, Democrats are moving forward with an aggressive agenda to lower costs and improve care.

“The Democratic agenda will protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower drug costs, and make health care more affordable. It will stop surprise bills, end price gouging for everyday drugs like insulin, and give Medicare the ability to negotiate for lower drug prices. While Democrats take concrete steps forward, Republicans are dead-set on taking us backwards, doing everything they can to sabotage health care, and put the interests of drug and insurance companies ahead of the needs of the American people.”

BACKGROUND:  

Here is how the Affordable Care Act is working across the country:

More than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage.

13 million people have coverage through the individual market. 13.3 million people are covered by marketplace or non-marketplace plans subject to ACA consumer protections. 82 percent of those enrolled through the marketplace are satisfied with their plans.

Insurers can no longer deny or drop coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Because of the ACA, insurers in the individual market can no longer drop or deny coverage, or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition. More than 130 million Americans have a pre-existing health condition.

Women no longer charged more than men. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer charge women more than men for the same care, and insurers are now required to cover important health benefits like maternity care. Before the ACA, 75 percent of non-group plans refused to cover maternity 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 2.3 million young adults 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. 17 million Americans have coverage through Medicaid expansion.

Free preventive care. Because of the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no cost to consumers. This includes nearly 137 million Americans, most of whom have employer coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage. Because of the ACA, insurers have to cover what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and substance and mental health.

Tax credits are available to help people afford coverage. Because of the ACA, most people getting coverage on the marketplace qualify for tax credits to help pay for coverage. 8.9 million of the ACA’s 11.8 million marketplace enrollees receive premium tax credits.

Improved Access To Care And Financial Security. Between 2010 and 2018, the share of non-elderly adults with a problem paying a medical bill fell by 17 percent, the share who didn’t fill a prescription fell by 27 percent, the share who skipped a test or treatment fell by 24 percent, and the share who didn’t visit a provider when needing care fell by 19 percent.

Helping seniors afford prescription drugs. Because of the ACA, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole is closed. As a result, 4.9 million U.S. seniors are saving $5.7 billion on drugs in 2017, an average of $1,149 per beneficiary.

Helping increase access to employer-sponsored coverage. The Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates are credited with helping increase rates of employer-sponsored health insurance. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that between 2013 and 2017, seven million more people gained employer coverage, nearly as many as gained coverage through the ACA marketplaces.

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