Monthly Archives

March 2019

Governor Evers’ Successful Fight to Withdraw From Disastrous Texas Lawsuit a Victory for Health Care in Wisconsin

Washington, DC – Following Governor Tony Evers’ decision Thursday to withdraw Wisconsin from the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. lawsuit championed by Republican leaders in Wisconsin that would overturn the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Governor Evers and Attorney General Kaul’s decision to pull Wisconsin out of the Texas lawsuit is a defeat for the Trump administration and Republican legislative leaders in Wisconsin’s relentless war on our health care. It is a victory for the nearly two and a half million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. The governor’s decision makes clear that elections matter, and that Democrats across the country are making good on their promise to save our health care system from the ongoing acts of sabotage from Republicans and their disastrous lawsuit that would end protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

BACKGROUND

In a December ruling, U.S. Northern District Court Judge Reed O’Connor used the courts to do what Republicans in Congress failed to do legislatively: strike down the Affordable Care Act. If O’Connor’s ruling is not overturned, it will rip coverage from millions of Americans, raise costs, end protections for people with pre-existing conditions, put insurance companies back in charge, and force seniors to pay more for prescription drugs. The result will be to — as the Trump Administration itself admitted in Court — unleash “chaos” in our entire health care system.

The ruling could have a devastating impact on Wisconsinites:

  • 2,435,700 Wisconsinites have a pre-existing condition, and would lose protections if this ruling is upheld.
  • 308,100 Wisconsin children have a pre-existing condition. One in four children, including 308,100 in Wisconsin, have a pre-existing condition.
  • 2 million Wisconsin women have a pre-existing condition. More than half of women and girls have a pre-existing condition, including 1,187,000 in Wisconsin.
  • 616,900 people aged 55-64 in Wisconsin have a pre-existing condition. 84 percent of older adults, 30.5 million Americans between age 55 and 64, have a pre-existing condition. This includes 616,900 in Wisconsin.

If not overturned, this ruling means:

  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for 10 million people:
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people:
  • Protections for more than 130 million people with pre-existing conditions when they buy coverage on their own, including more than 2.4 million Wisconsinites:
  • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26:
  • Free annual wellness exams:
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits:
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women:
  • Contraception with no out-of-pocket costs:
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs:
  • Requirement that insurance companies cover essential benefits like prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization:
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs:
  • Closed Medicare prescription drug donut hole:
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable:
  • Small business tax credits:

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Rep. Andy Kim, Protect Our Care and Health Care Advocates Mark 9th Anniversary of the ACA’s Passage; Lay Out Agenda for Lower Costs and Better Care 

Full press call audio here

Washington, DC – On a press call this afternoon, Representative Andy Kim (D-NJ 3rd District), Protect Our Care, and health care advocates marked the 9th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act and discussed the real-life impact the law has had for millions of Americans and the specific actions Democrats in Congress can take to move forward on their agenda for lower costs and better care.

“The people I hear from every day simply cannot afford to have their health care put at risk,” said U.S. Representative Andy Kim (NJ-3). “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.”

“My daughter has a pre-existing condition, and thanks to the ACA she’s been able to get the care that she needed,” said Angela Eilers, a health care advocate from Yorba Linda, California and a member of Little Lobbyists. “It’s extremely worrisome that our health care laws still remain in jeopardy and it’s critical that we continue fighting to protect and strengthen our health care laws so that people like my daughter are able to receive the care that they need.”

“Because of my son’s rare disease, he doesn’t just have one pre-existing condition, he probably has ten,” said Laurel Smith, a resident of Medford, New Jersey and a constituent of Rep. Kim’s. “My son’s condition catapulted me into this fight to protect the ACA, and I will continue to make sure that Congress and the president doesn’t rip away these essential health benefits.”

“Last November the American people rejected the Republican war on health care and demanded an agenda that would lower costs, improve care and end sabotage,” said Protect Our Care founder and chair Leslie Dach. “As we head into the 9th Anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats like Rep. Kim are moving forward with an aggressive agenda to address those concerns while President Trump and his allies in Congress continue to sabotage our health care laws and advocate for repeal.”

Full press call audio here

BACKGROUND:

The ACA Has Expanded Access To Affordable Care

On the ninth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act as the Trump administration and its Republican allies continue to try to repeal and sabotage the law, more people are learning that the ACA is working for them. This may be why the law is now more popular than it was for years.

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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SHOT/CHASER: Health Company CEOs Made More Than $600 Million Last Year While Skyrocketing Drug Prices Force Americans to Forgo their Medications

SHOT: Health Company CEOs Earned Upwards of $600 Million In 2018. “The CEOs of 23 prominent health care companies earned more than $632 million in 2018…” [Axios, 3/20/19]

CHASER: Drug Pricing is a Deadly National Scandal. “As many as one in every five Americans are trying to cope with Big Pharma’s morally indefensible pricing schemes by leaving prescriptions unfilled, skipping doses or splitting pills. Such desperate economies, coupled with unwitting failure to take medications properly, are said to contribute to some 125,000 deaths every year and as much as $289 billion in additional health costs.” [South Florida Sun Sentinel, 3/19/19]

Protect Our Care Statement on President Trump’s Shameful Attacks Against John McCain Over His Vote to Save Health Care

Washington, DC – After Donald Trump again insulted the memory of the late senator John McCain today over his vote to stop health care repeal Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Donald Trump’s latest attack against John McCain is a clear reminder that he remains obsessed with repealing and sabotaging our health care. The president is so intent on repealing health care protections, including those for people with pre-existing conditions, that he’s doubled down on his revenge vendetta against a true American war hero.”

Protect Our Care Announces Plans for Nationwide Events to Highlight Agenda for Lower Costs and Better Care

To Mark 9th Anniversary of the ACA’s passage, Protect Our Care Will Hold Events in Key Battleground States this Week to Promote a Democratic Agenda for Lower Costs, Better Care and an End to GOP Sabotage

Washington, DC – Protect Our Care has announced plans for activities nationwide this week, during the Congressional recess, to promote an agenda for lower costs, better care and end to Republican health care sabotage in advance of the 9th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law nine years ago this Saturday, March 23.

Activities will include press events in Alaska, Ohio, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, Maine and North Carolina as well as social media efforts nationwide.  At the events, health care professionals, elected officials, health care advocates, and people who have benefited from the ACA will talk about the benefits of the law and discuss the need to move forward with a health care agenda for lower costs and better care for all Americans. Participants will also urge Congress to take action to lower the cost of prescription drugs, rein in insurance companies, crack down on short-term junk plans and other steps necessary to improve our health care system. The events will also serve as an opportunity to call out Republicans in each state for their continued acts of health care sabotage and support for repeal.

“There is no doubt that the Democratic agenda on health care has changed the lives of millions of Americans for the better,” said Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse. “Across the country, Americans from all walks of life have been able to receive quality, affordable health care and coverage for pre-existing conditions thanks to Democrats’ actions to shape and strengthen the nation’s health care laws. On this important anniversary, it’s critical that we move forward with a bold agenda for lower costs and better care while continuing to call out Republican’s repeated attempts to undermine and sabotage our health care system at every turn.”

Events happening this week:

Iowa press event

When:    Tuesday, March 19 at 10:30am CDT

Where:   Iowa State Capitol (Room 116), 1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319

Details:  Facebook event link

Alaska press event

When:   Tuesday, March 19 at 11:00am AKDT

Where:  1057 W Fireweed Ln, Anchorage, AK 99503

Details:  Facebook event link

Georgia press event

When:    Tuesday, March 19 at 3:00pm EST

Where:   Central Presbyterian Church, 201 Washington St. SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Details:  Facebook event link

Arizona press event

When:    Wednesday, March 20 at 11:00am MST

Where:   Arizona State Capitol, 700 W Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Details:  Facebook event link

Ohio – Dayton press event

When:    Wednesday, March 20  

Where:   Dayton City Commission Office, 101 W Third St, Dayton, OH 45401

Maine press event

When:    Thursday, March 21 at 11:00am EST

Where:   State House Welcome Center, 210 State St, Augusta, ME 04333

Details:  Facebook event link

North Carolina press event

When:   Thursday, March 21 at 11:00am EST

Where:  North Carolina General Assembly, 16 W Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Details: Facebook event link

Colorado rally outside Senator Cory Gardner’s office

When:   Friday, March 22 at 12:00pm MDT

Where:  Corner of 19th Street and Stout Street, Denver, CO 80202

Details: Facebook event link

Ohio – Cleveland press event

When:    Friday, March 22

Where:   Neighborhood Family Practice Pharmacy, 3569 Ridge Rd, Cleveland, OH 44102

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New TV Ad Blasts Trump for Breaking His Promise on Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid

Ad also Targets Ten Congressional Republicans Calling on Them to Oppose Trump’s War on Health Care

Washington, DC — Protect Our Care will air a new television and digital ad this week calling out President Trump for his many lies about wanting to save Medicare and Medicaid while proposing to gut their funding and sabotaging our health care system at every turn.

The ad, called “Broken Promises,” slams Trump’s blatant hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts by highlighting his false promise to “save Medicare and Medicaid… without cuts” if elected, only to turn around once in office and repeatedly try to gut them. The ad, which was featured in the Washington Post this morning, urges people to call their representatives and demand they reject Trump’s budget and its trillions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Watch the ad here.

“Time and again, Trump claimed he wouldn’t cut Medicare and Medicaid if elected – but of course that was a blatant lie,” said Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse. “As president, he has repeatedly broken his promise to Americans not to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and his latest budget slashes them by trillions of dollars. It’s clear that Trump will stop at nothing to sabotage our health care system, and will do so while showering insurance and drug companies with billions of dollars in tax breaks as they raise premiums and jack up the costs of prescription drugs.”

The ad will run on cable in DC as well as digitally targeting President Trump’s Senate allies Martha McSally (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) who are all considered vulnerable in 2020. The ad will also run digitally in selected House districts to target vulnerable Republicans in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New York – specifically, representatives Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Davis (IL-13), Upton (MI-06), Hagedorn (MN-01), Bacon (NE-02), and Katko (NY-24).

View the national ad:

SCRIPT

Donald Trump. When he ran for President he promised to:

“Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”

But now, Trump is turning his back on seniors and families — proposing over two trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Breaking his promise.

Slashing our health care to the bone.

And for what? Tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations.

Call Congress — tell them to oppose Trump’s cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

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Ohio Is The Next Stop On President Trump’s Medicaid Madness Tour

Washington, DC — Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved Ohio’s request to implement work requirements on its Medicaid program. In their waiver request, Ohio officials predicted that roughly 18,000 people will lose their Medicaid eligibility. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued a statement in response:

“Ohio is the next stop on the Trump administration’s Medicaid sabotage tour. The work requirements approved by the administration will have disastrous effects on Ohioans. By Ohio’s own admission, nearly half of the people with coverage through Medicaid who will be subjected to work requirements will lose their health care; this is similar to the consequences we’ve seen in Arkansas where 18,000 people have already had their coverage stripped away from them. It’s high time for the administration to stop playing accomplice to states who are intent on denying people health care and start working on policies that will lower costs and improve care for all Americans.

NEW POLL: Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in President Trump’s Budget Proposal

New Poll From PPP Found That Voters are Less Likely to Support President Trump’s Reelection After He Broke His Campaign Promise by Proposing Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid After Giving Tax Breaks to Big Corporations

Washington DC — Today, a new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) for Protect Our Care shows overwhelming voter rejection of President Trump’s newly released budget proposal because of its cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Despite Trump’s campaign promise to oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, he proposed a budget that makes these cuts after he already gave new tax breaks to big corporations. 60% of voters say they oppose Trump’s proposed Medicaid cuts, 72% say they oppose the Medicare cuts and 50% of voters say they’re less likely to vote for him because of these proposed cuts.

“This poll shows the Trump administration is acting against the will of the American people by proposing a budget that guts critical health care programs relied on by millions of Americans, especially impacting seniors and children,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “These massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are even more egregious when considering the billions of dollars in tax breaks that the administration has showered on health insurance and drug companies. It’s way past time for the president and his Republican allies to wake up and stop their war on health care.”

Key findings from the survey include:

Voters overwhelmingly oppose the cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in Trump’s budget:

  • 72% oppose the Medicare Cuts in Trump’s Budget. By a 59-point margin (72% to 13%) voters oppose the proposed budget because it includes an $845-billion in cuts to Medicare. 81% of voters over the age of 65 say they oppose these cuts, and 70% of Independents also oppose the cuts to Medicare.
  • 60% oppose the Medicaid Cuts in Trump’s Budget. By a 36-point margin (60% to 24%) voters oppose the proposed budget because it includes a more than $1-trillion cut to Medicaid. 59% of Independents say they oppose the cuts to Medicaid.

Voters say the budget makes them less likely to support Trump for reelection:

  • 50% of voters say they’re less likely to support Trump because he broke his promise not to cut Medicare and Medicaid – including 54% with independents – while only 14% say they’re more likely to support him.
  • 54% of voters say they’re less likely to support Trump because he cut Medicare & Medicaid after giving away hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax breaks for big corporations, including 57% of voters people over age 65 and 51% of Independents. Just 15% say they’re more likely to support Trump due to the cuts.
  • 52% of voters say they’d vote for Trump’s Democratic opponent for President if the election were held today, compared to just 41% who say they’d vote for Trump.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 661 national voters by telephone on March 13th and 14th, on behalf of Protect Our Care. The survey’s margin of error is +/-3.8%.

Secretary Azar Admits That HHS Is Trying To Gut Medicaid Without Congressional Approval

Washington, DC — Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar answered questions from Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Trump’s FY20 budget about HHS having direct conversations with various states about block granting Medicaid, all without the approval of Congress. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“The block grants that Secretary Azar and Trump’s Republicans are pushing are just a thinly veiled attempt to slash Medicaid funding and rip away people’s health care, which Americans vehemently oppose. Congress has repeatedly rejected this disastrous idea and so did voters just months ago in November. It’s time for Secretary Azar to come clean with the American people about his true intention to gut Medicaid and take health care away from millions of Americans.”

Five Things You Should Know Before Sec. Azar Testifies Today

Yesterday, Sec. Azar used his testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee on the HHS FY20 budget to distract from the damage his agency has done and is going into overdrive to continue to do to Americans’ health care. Unfortunately for Azar, he can’t hide the truth. Here’s what you should know before he testifies today at the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee:

  1. Trump’s Budget Would Repeal The Affordable Care Act And Its Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions. In his testimony yesterday, Azar falsely claimed that Trump’s budget requires genuine protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The truth is just the opposite. Trump’s budget would repeal Affordable Care Act, completely eliminating its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  2. The Trump Administration Is Actively Pushing Consumers To Purchase Junk Plans That Can Discriminate Against People With Pre-existing Conditions. Though Azar said it was important that consumers be “fully aware” that junk plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, the truth is that his administration is pushing consumers to sign up for those very plans. In July, CMS announced that it would encourage health navigator groups that are intended to help consumers enroll in ACA-compliant health plans to instead direct consumers to junk plans that lack important consumer protections.
  3. Medicaid Work Requirements Inherently Increase Paperwork And Red Tape, Causing Eligible People To Lose Coverage. The Trump administration’s budget seeks to impose a national Medicaid work requirement, despite estimates that it would cause millions to lose coverage. Already, an Arkansas work requirement has led more than 18,000 to lose coverage. Yesterday Azar claimed that he did not have data on why so many lost coverage, but multiple studies and news reports have found high levels of confusion and lack of awareness among Medicaid enrollees. The truth is simple: work requirements add barriers and reduce access to health care for people who desperately need it.
  4. Republicans Are Not Trying To Give States More Choices, They Are Trying To Dismantle Medicaid. Azar has marketed a number of policies — block granting Medicaid, imposing work requirements, allowing partial expansion — as policies that give states more choices. Not coincidentally, these policies would all radically transform Medicaid and give states the power to restrict access to their Medicaid programs.
  5. Reminder: Republicans Are So Eager To End Pre-existing Condition Protections That Trump Held A Garden Party At The Prospect Of Signing Into Law A Bill That Would Let Insurance Companies Discriminate Against People With Pre-existing Conditions. When he claimed yesterday that Trump would never sign into law a bill that does not protect people with pre-existing conditions, Azar seemed to forget that Trump threw a party in the Rose Garden at the prospect of signing the House repeal bill, which would have let insurance companies charge people with pre-existing conditions significantly more, into law. Trump was so excited that NBC wrote, “Trump, GOP Leaders Take Victory Lap After House Passes ‘Trumpcare.’”