Monthly Archives

September 2019

Headlines: GOP Admits Plan To Run On Repealing Health Care In 2020

(Yes, Again)

This past weekend, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy gave Americans a preview of the GOPs top 2020 priority: repealing health care. Despite suffering a whopping defeat and losing their majority in 2018 running on the same repeal and sabotage agenda, the GOP seems determined to repeat their mistakes and once again attempt to strip health care from millions of Americans.

Washington Post: “House Republicans, Seeking Path Back To Majority, Vow To Try Again On Scrapping Health-Care Law, Curbing Deficits.”“If Trump is reelected, the GOP recaptures the House and holds the Senate, the president and Republicans said they would try again to scrap the 2010 law that has provided coverage for tens of millions of Americans and ensured health care for those with preexisting medical conditions.” [Washington Post, 9/13/19

MSNBC: “Looking Ahead, House GOP Leader Eyes ACA Repeal (Yes, Again).”“Republican leaders are turning their attention to … another health care crusade.This strikes me as a flawed plan. The Affordable Care Act is rather popular, and after nearly a decade, much of the country has grown to support and rely on the reform law’s benefits. Republican alternatives to “Obamacare” have been regressive, unpopular, and unable to match the party’s bold promises about better coverage at a lower price, which is why Democrats used the issue as a cudgel to bludgeon GOP candidates in the most recent elections. The more the 2020 cycle is focused on health care, the happier Democrats will be.” [MSNBC, 9/16/19

Newsweek: “House Republicans Reveal 2020 Strategy: Attack Obamacare (Again).” “This weekend, House Republicans held their annual legislative retreat in Baltimore, Maryland, where they outlined their plans for the upcoming year and beyond. High on the agenda: getting rid of the Affordable Care Act for good, something they failed at before losing their majority last year. [Newsweek, 9/16/19]  

Bloomberg: Leader Mccarthy Seeks To Repeal Obamacare “Once And For All.” “House Republicans plan to run on tried-and-true issues in 2020: repealing Obamacare and reducing the national debt, even though the GOP fell short of both goals the last time the party had full control of Washington…in 2017, “no” votes by GOP Senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski blocked Republicans’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. ‘We were one vote short of entitlement reform. We will have the opportunity with a Republican Senate and President Trump to change it once and for all and make America stronger,’ McCarthy said Friday.” [Bloomberg, 9/13/19

 

Confirmed: GOP Running On Same Health Care Repeal Agenda In 2020 That Cost Them Their Majority In 2018

Washington, DC — On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reaffirmed that health care repeal would be a top priority for Republicans headed into 2020. Despite McCarthy crediting the GOPs failed repeal efforts for his Party’s devastating 2018 losses less than a year ago, he seems determined to once again run on the same sabotage agenda that cost Republicans their majority. In response to this news, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement: 

“The Republican plan is, and has always been, repeal and sabotage, no matter the consequences at the ballot box or the American lives hurt along the way. Thankfully for the American public, Kevin McCarthy said the quiet part out loud this weekend and made clear to all that Republicans remain dead-set on repealing health care – raising costs and gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”  

New Mexicans Won’t Hear the Truth About President Trump’s Health Care Agenda at Tonight’s Rally in Albuquerque

Washington, DC — As President Trump heads to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a rally today, his visit is overshadowed by reports detailing the Republicans’ plan to run on repealing health care in 2020 and a looming decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Texas v. United States, the lawsuit that would wipe away the Affordable Care Act. Ahead of Trump’s rally, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“President Trump’s nonstop lies won’t change the fact that he went to court to strip away health care from more than 200,000 New Mexicans and that his party plans to run on repealing health care for the fifth straight election. The Trump-Texas lawsuit would raise prescription drug costs, terminate protections for millions with pre-existing conditions, and end Medicaid expansion in New Mexico. After ten years of sabotage, voters in New Mexico are sick and tired of the GOP playing politics with their health care and know better than to trust the hollow words of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.”

BACKGROUND:

If Trump Gets His Way, 226,000 New Mexicans Would Lose Their Coverage 

  • 226,000 New Mexicans could lose coverage. According to the Urban Institute, 226,000 New Mexicans would lose coverage by repealing the Affordable Care Act, leading to a 109 percent increase in the uninsured rate. 
  • 15,000 New Mexico young adults with their parents’ coverage could lose care. Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of young adults are able to stay on their parents’ care until age 26. 
  • New Mexicans would lose important federal health care funding — an estimated reduction of $2.2 billion in the first year. The Urban Institute estimates that a full repeal of the ACA would reduce federal spending on New Mexicans’ Medicaid/CHIP care and Marketplace subsidies by $2.2 billion, or 41.2 percent in the first year. 
  • 843,500 New Mexicans have a pre-existing condition, including 118,900 New Mexico children, 425,000 New Mexico women, and 203,000 New Mexicans between ages 55 and 64. 

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.

 

 

SHOT/CHASER: Kevin McCarthy Says GOP Will Run AGAIN on Repealing Health Care in 2020, Despite Blaming Losses in 2018 on Past Repeal Attempts

SHOT: At Retreat This Weekend, House Republicans Pledge to Run Again On Repealing Health Care in 2020. “If Trump is reelected, the GOP recaptures the House and holds the Senate, the president and Republicans said they would try again to scrap the 2010 law that has provided coverage for tens of millions of Americans and ensured health care for those with preexisting medical conditions.” [Washington Post, 9/13/19]

CHASER: McCarthy Blames Republican Loss Of House Majority On GOP Health Care Bill. “Speaking privately to his donors, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy squarely blamed Republican losses in last year’s midterm elections on the GOP push to roll back health insurance protections for people with preexisting conditions — and in turn blamed his party’s right flank.” [Washington Post, 2/12/19]

Experts Refute Seema Verma’s Lies About the Uninsured Rate

In a late Friday afternoon blog post, Seema Verma doubled down on her lies – playing politics ahead of President Trump’s re-election at a time when the public overwhelmingly opposes their repeal and sabotage agenda. Despite a resounding consensus from health care experts, the CMS administrator once again refused to accept blame for the administration’s role in driving up the number of uninsured Americans by almost 2 million. 

Former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt: “BREAKING: Sorry I won’t retweet it, but the Trump Administration just put out a release blaming the ACA for the rise in Trump’s uninsured rate.The ACA has done more to reduce the uninsured rate than any in history…but that’s just data.” [Andy Slavitt Twitter, 9/13/19]

Georgetown CCF Executive Director Joan Alker: “Census data was clear – it’s the loss of Medicaid/CHIP that’s driving the increase for kids. CMS hasn’t even acknowledged that this is happening — much less tried to fix it.” [Joan Alker Twitter, 9/12/19]

Health Care Analyst Charles Gaba: “What she DOESN’T tell you is that the main REASON for the “double digit premium increase” in 2018 was the Trump Administration cutting off CSR reimbursement payments, and 2019 premiums would’ve been ~8 points *lower* if Trump & the GOP hadn’t zeroed out the Individual Mandate penalty.” [Charles Gaba Twitter, 9/12/19]

Center for American Progress Health Economist Emily Gee: “To recap, the ACA lead to the lowest health insurance rates in history. The Census (CPS) showed that the national uninsured rate ticked up in 2018, with 1.9 million more people uninsured than in 2017.” [Emily Gee Twitter, 9/13/19]

The Hill Health Care Reporter Jessie Hellmann: “This does not explain why Medicaid enrollment is dropping, which is the primary reason the Census gave for the increasing uninsured rate.” [Jessie Hellmann Twitter, 9/12/19]

MORE POLLING: Health Care Remains the #1 Issue as Democratic Presidential Candidates Take the Debate Stage Tonight

Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage in Houston tonight as multiple recent polls confirm that health care is the #1 issue for the American people. With the Trump-Texas lawsuit threatening to overturn our health care laws and the White House lacking any plan to clean up the mess they created, tonight is the perfect opportunity for Democrats to explain how they’d lower costs, provide better care, and reverse the damage done by President Trump and the GOP’s reckless war on health care.

1.CNN POLL: Health care is the top issue with 82% saying it’s extremely/very important. 

2. PPP POLL: Health care is a key issue for the majority (69%) of voters in 2020 battleground states (AZ, FL, PA, MI, WI & TX).

3. KAISER HEALTH TRACKING: Approval of the Affordable Care Act is at a record high of +12 (53-41%).

Headlines Are In: Speaker Pelosi’s Landmark Plan Takes on Big Pharma and Drastically Lowers Drug Prices

The landmark drug pricing plan Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to unveil responds to concerns of American families, takes on big pharma and drastically lowers the cost of prescription drugs. Headlines confirm the historic nature of this plan that adds “new urgency” to solving the ongoing crisis of skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs that’s impacting millions of American families. 

New York Times: Pelosi Energizes Battle To Lower Drug Prices. “A draft proposal by Speaker Nancy Pelosi would empower the federal government to negotiate lower prices for hundreds of prescription drugs, not only for Medicare but for the private market as well, injecting new urgency into Washington’s efforts to control the soaring price of pharmaceuticals.” [New York Times, 9/10/19]

CNBC: Pharma Stocks Fall As Draft Of House Democratic Drug Price Plan Surfaces On Capitol Hill. “Pharmaceutical stocks fell Tuesday after an early draft of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s long-anticipated plan to reduce U.S. drug prices surfaced on Capitol Hill. The main thrust of the plan, which is still in flux, would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices on the 250 most expensive drugs and apply those discounts to private health plans across the U.S…shares of drugmakers fell on the news. Eli Lilly was down by about 1% in afternoon trading. Merck and GlaxoSmithKline both fell by more than 2%.” [CNBC, 9/10/19]

Forbes: House Speaker Pelosi Seizes An Opening On Prescription Drug Prices. “Under Pelosi’s plan there would be direct negotiations between Medicare – as a collective unit representing all beneficiaries – and drug manufacturers. Here, Medicare would negotiate prices of 250 costly medicines. The list of drugs has not been disclosed, but the plan indicates it will include both outpatient and physician-administered drugs. In its negotiations with drug manufacturers, Medicare would use as benchmarks the average prices of the 250 drugs in a set of developed countries. The resulting negotiated prices would then apply to the commercial sector in the the U.S. Also, substantial fines would be levied on drug companies that refuse to participate in the negotiations.” [Forbes, 9/11/19]

Modern Healthcare: Democrats’ Draft Drug Pricing Plan Could Shift Legislative Debate. “An ambitious draft plan from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to allow government price negotiation on a swath of expensive drugs has shifted Washington’s contentious policy debate leftward at a critical point for Democratic negotiations with Senate Republicans and the White House…progressive Democrats and reform-minded advocates were optimistic for where the legislation is headed, particularly since it would allow the HHS secretary to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers instead of opting for arbitration.” [Modern Healthcare, 9/10/11]

Trump Administration Sabotage Is the Driving Factor In Unprecedented Increase In Number of Uninsured Americans

New Census data released today makes clear that actions taken by the Trump administration have directly contributed to nearly two million more Americans being uninsured. News outlets cited Trump’s “hostile” policies that injected chaos into the health care system as the main cause.

CNBC: Rate Of Insured Americans Decreases For The First Time Since Obamacare Started In 2014. “In response to the recent report, experts are saying the increase in the number of people lacking health insurance is the result of the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the ACA.” [CNBC, 9/10/19

The Washington Post: As Census Data Reveals Uptick In Uninsured, Health Care Experts Point To “Chilling Effect” From The Trump Administration’s Efforts To Restrict Medicaid Access. “Health policy experts interpreted those patterns as evidence of a chilling effect from the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict several forms of public assistance, including Medicaid for immigrants seeking to remain in the United States. In addition, the number of low-income Americans on Medicaid tends to decline when the economy expands, as it did last year, while some states have been clamping down on eligibility and following the administration’s urging to impose work requirements in the program.” [The Washington Post, 9/10/19

The New York Times: Policy Changes Under The Trump Administration “Made A Difference” In Rising Uninsured Rate. “… policy changes under the Trump administration, which has been hostile to the health law, have made a difference. The administration also cut back on advertising and enrollment assistance, programs that helped low income people learn about the new insurance programs, among other changes that may have depressed Obamacare enrollments. [The New York Times, 9/10/19

CNN: Rise In Uninsured Rate “Marks The First Coverage Setback Since The Affordable Care Act Was Passed In 2010.” “The drop in the 2018 uninsured rate marks the first coverage setback since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. TSince taking office, Trump and the GOP have sought to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The President cut the open enrollment period for the exchanges and slashed funding for advertising and enrollment assistance. Also, the Republican-led Congress effectively eliminated the mandate that Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty, starting this year.” [CNN, 9/10/19]

New Census Data Reaffirms Trump-GOP Health Care Sabotage is Increasing the Number of Uninsured Americans

Washington, DC – New Census Bureau data released today shows the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans continued sabotage of our health care system is increasing the number of uninsured Americans. 1.9 million Americans became uninsured last year, increasing from 25.6 million in 2017 to 27.5 million in 2018 – the first time in nearly a decade the number of uninsured has gone up. In response, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“The latest Census numbers prove once again that the Trump-GOP sabotage agenda continues to wreak havoc on American health care and prevent Americans from getting the coverage they need. With their ongoing lawsuit to overturn the health care law, sabotage of open enrollment and promotion of junk insurance plans, Republicans have purposefully created chaos and uncertainty in our health care system. As a result of their sabotage, nearly two million more Americans were uninsured last year. The more Republicans continue to double down on their war on health care, the more we will see further drops in coverage and increased anxiety from Americans over the future of their health care.” 

BACKGROUND:

TRUMP’S SABOTAGE AGENDA

  • The Trump Administration Is Pushing Junk Plans That Allow Discrimination Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions And Don’t Require Coverage For Prescription Drugs, Maternity Care, And Hospitalization. In August 2018, the administration finalized a rule that expands the availability of so called short-term, limited duration plans from three months to just under twelve months and allows them to renew such plans for up to three years. Since finalizing the rule, the Trump administration has urged groups that help people sign up for coverage to push consumers toward these junk plans and has issued guidance urging states to let ACA subsidies be used to purchase these skimpy plans. Short-term plans can exclude or deny key medical services such as prescription drug coverage, hospitalization, and maternity care. Even when plans say they cover prescription drugs, the benefit is often capped at a limit, such as $3,000. Adding insult to injury, short-term plans have a history of finding ways to deny coverage after people become sick. Expanding access to short-term junk plans also siphons away younger and healthier people from the marketplace, leaving mostly older and sicker people to have to pay more for the coverage they need. These plans put insurance companies back in charge, not consumers. 
  • The Trump Administration Has Sabotaged Open Enrollment. They cut funding for navigator grants—programs designed to provide outreach, education, and enrollment assistance for marketplace consumers — from $37 million in 2018 to $10 million. In 2017, the Administration also cut the outreach advertising budget for Open Enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million – which resulted in as many as 1.1 million fewer people getting covered.
  • The Trump Administration Supports Onerous Paperwork Requirements That Take Health Care Away From Up To 4 Million Americans Covered By Medicaid. After Arkansas imposed the nation’s first so-called work requirements program, nearly 17,000 residents lost Medicaid coverage. While these state efforts have been blocked by a federal judge, the Trump administration keeps fighting to impose work reporting requirements in Medicaid, appealing federal court rulings that blocked such requirements because they are illegal.

More on Trump’s health care sabotage can be found here.

House Dems Bill Will Lower Drug Prices, Stand Up to Big Pharma

Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats Set To Unveil Historic Legislation To Lower Drug Prices While Trump And Congressional Republicans Continue Defending Status Quo And Protecting Big Pharma

Washington, DC – Following reports of the sweeping legislation set to be unveiled by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to drastically lower prescription drug costs and hold insurance companies accountable, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement: 

“The landmark legislation Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have crafted is the most sweeping and comprehensive reform of prescription drug prices in modern history. By lifting the ban on Medicare negotiations for lower drug prices and introducing the strongest-yet measures to hold big pharma accountable for the rigged system they’ve created, this plan would take on the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Too many families are struggling to afford either rent or pills, but this plan would take on the drug companies and reduce drug prices for every American – those on Medicare and those who are not. President Trump and Republicans in Congress continue to be relentless defenders of the status quo – protectors of drug and insurance company profits. Republicans gave new, record-breaking tax breaks to the biggest drug companies and will now almost certainly try to block Medicare negotiations to lower prices for the American people. 

“With this legislation, it’s clear that Speaker Pelosi and Democrats are taking seriously their commitment to ending the rigged system that keeps prices high, and their responsibility to ensure that no American goes broke trying to afford their prescriptions or access the care they need.” 

BACKGROUND: 

Drug Prices Are Surging Under Trump

Drug Prices In 2019 Surged Compared To The Year Before. With Hikes At 5 Times Inflation — “More Than 3,400 Drugs Have Boosted Their Prices In The First Six Months Of 2019.” “Price hikes on prescription drugs are surging in 2019, despite vows from the Trump administration to rein in pharmaceutical costs. So far in 2019, more than 3,400 drugs have boosted their prices, a 17% increase compared with the roughly 2,900 drug price increases at the same time in 2018, according to a new analysis by Rx Savings Solutions, a consultant to health plans and employers. The average price hike for those 3,400 drugs stands at 10.5%, or about 5 times the rate of inflation, the study found.” [CBS News, 7/1/19]

AARP Analysis Found Specialty Drug Prices Have Grown More Than Three Times Faster Than Inflation. “The prices of widely used specialty prescription drugs grew more than three times faster than general inflation in 2017…The new report found that the average annual price for a single specialty drug used on a chronic basis is now nearly $79,000, compared to $27,824 in 2006.” [AARP, 6/25/19

Insulin Costs Have Tripled Over The Past Decade. As costs continue to rise, as many as one in four of the 7.5 million Americans dependent on insulin are skipping or skimping on doses.

Despite Tough Rhetoric,  Trump And His Republican Allies Continue To Block Meaningful Reform.

Trump And His Republican Allies Continue To Block Medicare Negotiation For Lower Drug Prices. Even though  86 percent of Americans support allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, Republicans refuse to allow Medicare to negotiate. A 2018 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Democratic Committee report found that Medicare Part D could save $2.8 billion in a single year if it were allowed to negotiate drug prices. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was recently blocked by Senate Republicans.

For more on Trump’s broken promises on drug pricing, click here.