Monthly Archives

October 2019

ON THE RECORD: Senate Republicans Side with Insurance Companies As Senate Democrats Force Vote to Protect Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions

Yesterday, Senate Democrats forced a vote on the Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Act, which would have rolled back the Trump administration’s promotion of harmful junk insurance plans that don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions. While Democrats voted to save these vital protections, Senate Republicans blocked the measure to side with the drug and insurance companies and Trump’s sabotage agenda.

Leader Chuck Schumer (NY): “The Trump Administration has done nearly everything imaginable to undermine protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. That’s why Senate Democrats will force a crucial vote on the future of these health care protections.” [Leader Schumer Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Dick Durbin (IL): “Senate Republicans could have voted to protect health insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions—such as diabetes, asthma, cancer, or heart disease. Instead, they backed President Trump’s proposal to allow discrimination against these individuals.” [Sen. Durbin Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Mark Warner (VA): “We cannot go back to the days when a pre-existing condition could mean a one-way ticket out of the middle class. That’s what’s at stake if the administration’s healthcare sabotage is successful. Today we’re forcing a vote to #ProtectPreExistingConditions.” [Sen. Warner Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Patty Murray (WA): “Today, 52 Senate Republicans went on the record against affordable health care and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Today, 52 Senate Republicans voted against patients and families. Don’t forget.” [Sen. Murray Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI): “Today I voted to stop the Trump Administration’s health care sabotage and overturn the rule promoting junk insurance plans. These plans threaten protections for millions of Michigan residents with pre-existing conditions. #ProtectPreExistingConditions.” [Sen. Stabenow Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Ron Wyden (OR): “Today, Senate Republicans will be put on the record about their support for pre-existing conditions. We will see if their actions reflect their promises to the American people. #ProtectOurCare.” [Sen. Wyden Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI): “While Senate Democrats are working to help make things better for the American people, Senate Republicans are helping the Trump administration make things worse.” [Sen. Baldwin Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT): “It’s simple, the Trump admin refuses to #ProtectPreExistingConditions. We must fight back against Republicans’ never-ending sabotage of Americans’ health care. That’s why @SenateDems voted to stop this admin’s dangerous rule gutting preexisting conditions.” [Sen. Blumenthal Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Tom Carper (DE): “Nearly 400,000 Delawareans and over 130 million Americans are living with pre-existing conditions. Today, I was proud to join @SenateDems and stand against the Trump Administration’s relentless attacks on critical protections for these Americans. #ProtectPreExistingConditions.” [Sen. Carper Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Bob Casey (PA): “Today @SenateDems will force a vote to stop the Trump Admin from allowing states to promote junk insurance that doesn’t #ProtectPreExistingConditions. We cannot stand by. If Republicans were serious about protecting people with pre-existing conditions, they would stand beside us.” [Sen. Casey Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Ed Markey (MA): “We can’t let the Trump administration and Republicans keep sabotaging our health care. I’m proud the @SenateDems are forcing a vote today to stop the Trump admin’s rule allowing states to promote junk insurance plans and #ProtectPreExistingConditions.” [Sen. Markey Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (NV): “My Republican colleagues say they support protections for people with preexisting conditions. Yet in today’s vote, they showed just how untrue that is. I’ll keep fighting attempts to send us back to the dark days of health care coverage in America when Nevadans didn’t have the peace of mind of being protected for having a preexisting condition.” [Sen. Cortez Masto Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Bob Menendez (NJ): “Senate Dems just forced a vote to reverse a Trump Admin rule that would undermine the ACA, threatening coverage for millions of hardworking Americans. For the 130M Americans & 3.8M NJans w/ a pre-existing condition, I’m voting to protect your care. #ProtectPreExistingConditions.” [Sen. Menendez Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Jeff Merkley (OR): “Trump is trying to destroy protections for pre-existing conditions by allowing states to promote “junk plans” that don’t cover essentials. I was proud to stand w/ @MarkWarner to force a vote that would protect Americans from this attack on their care…but deeply disappointed that my @SenateGOP colleagues voted No, as they keep trying to take care away from people who need it most. You would think they’d have learned from the 2018 elections that people want better, more affordable coverage—not efforts to take it away.” [Sen. Merkley Twitter, 10/30/19]

Senator Tom Udall (NM): “I was proud to take a stand today against the Trump admin’s #ACA sabotage that lures people into junk health care plans. Sad that @senatemajldr @senategop did not join us in protecting millions of Americans.I won’t stop fighting to #ProtectPreexistingConditions.” [Sen. Udall Twitter, 10/30/19]

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI):[email protected] & Republicans are working to take us back to the dark ages for patients when insurance companies could discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes. Every American deserves high-quality health care. #ProtectPreExistingConditions.” [Sen. Whitehouse Twitter, 10/30/19]

2020 Open Enrollment Begins Tomorrow

Americans Can Purchase Affordable Quality Health Insurance That Fully Protects Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, DC — Friday, November 1st, marks the beginning of the 2020 Open Enrollment period, where Americans can sign up for affordable, quality health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. To mark the start of the 2020 Open Enrollment period, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Open Enrollment for 2020 starts tomorrow, giving Americans the opportunity to purchase quality and affordable health care through the ACA marketplaces. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the majority of marketplace enrollees who qualify for financial assistance could pay a monthly premium of $10 or less. Despite the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine Open Enrollment marketplaces, coverage under the Affordable Care Act is more affordable and easier than ever to sign up for.”

VOTE ALERT: Senate Republicans Vote Against Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions

Senate Republicans Side With Insurance Companies and Trump Sabotage Over 135 Million Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions 

Washington, DC — Today, Senate Democrats forced a vote on the Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Act, which would undo the Trump administration’s efforts to push insurance plans that don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions. Unsurprisingly, Republicans in the Senate defeated the bill, allowing the administration to keep pushing these disastrous plans that charge more and cover less. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Republican Senators just had another chance to protect health care for people with pre-existing conditions and they refused. Senators who voted against this resolution sent a crystal clear message — they would rather side with insurance companies that sell junk plans than the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions like asthma, high cholesterol and arthritis. Americans with pre-existing conditions are tired of hearing their senator lie about supporting protections only to turn around and vote to strip them away.” 

VOTE ALERT: GOP Senators Face a Clear Choice: Will They Vote to Preserve Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions Or Continue Supporting Trump’s Sabotage

Senate Vote Tomorrow On The Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Act Forces Senate Republicans To Choose Between Defending Junk Insurance Plans or Supporting Their Constituents With Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, DC — Tomorrow, Senate Democrats will force a vote on the Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Act, which would roll back the Trump administration’s junk insurance plans that don’t include protections for pre-existing conditions. Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement in response:

“This vote is a litmus test for Senate Republicans; they must choose whether to support Donald Trump’s junk insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions or stand with 135 million patients with conditions like asthma, diabetes and cancer. For too long, Republicans have voted to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and then lied to their constituents, but that subterfuge ends this week. Republicans will have to pick sides: either vote to protect patients or vote to protect President Trump and their insurance company donors.”

BACKGROUND:

THE HILL: “The Democratic measure would have overruled Trump’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans, which do not have to cover people with pre-existing conditions or cover a range of health services like mental health or prescription drugs.”

AARP: AARP opposed Trump’s expansion of short-term plans, arguing “these plans can deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions and refuse to cover even the most basic medical services.” 

ACSCAN: An analysis by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network found that “it is unlikely that anyone with a history of cancer or many other health conditions would be able to enroll in or afford a short-term plan.” 

Seema Verma Charging Ahead With Plans to Kick More Medicaid Enrollees Off the Rolls

The CMS Administrator Announced Plans to Continue Pushing States to Take Up Onerous Medicaid Work Requirements, Despite Similar Plans Being Struck Down Three Times In Federal Court

Washington, DC — Yesterday, CMS Administrator Verma announced that CMS will continue pushing states to take up Medicaid work requirements. These work requirements kick tens of thousands of Medicaid enrollees off the rolls and place untenable burdens of entry to the program. Despite similar requirements being struck down in federal court in Kentucky, Arkansas, and New Hampshire, the administration is determined to continue pushing them as part of their broader war on health care. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:  

“Seema Verma just can’t quit sabotaging America’s health care as she forges ahead with pushing dangerous work requirements that undermine Medicaid and kick people off the rolls. Even as similar plans are struck down by the courts, Verma is vowing to wage a full-on war against Medicaid by urging states to continue taking up these draconian work requirements. There seems to be no bottom for this administration’s desire to take away Americans’ health care, as they remain hellbent on stripping coverage from Americans in any way, shape, or form.”  

Senate Democrats Take a Stand on Behalf of People with Pre-Existing Conditions Against Trump-Backed Junk Insurance Plans

Washington, DC — Today, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are delivering speeches on the floor of the United States Senate in support of the Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Act. This bill would block the Trump administration’s effort to eliminate protections for the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement in response:

“President Trump and Senate Republicans want to do away with protections for people with pre-existing conditions by pushing junk insurance plans that cost more and cover less. Americans don’t want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage or charge more to cover pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Senate Republicans have a clear choice: vote to protect 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions or vote to continue supporting these junk plans and lie to the American people about it.”

BACKGROUND:

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. 

Under Short Term Junk Plans, Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions Are Essentially Meaningless. Short-term plans can exclude or deny key medical services such as prescription drug coverage, hospitalization, and maternity care. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said allowing states to waive essential health benefits “could render those protections meaningless” for people with pre-existing conditions. 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 and can bring back annual and lifetime caps on the amount of care patients receive. As Consumers Union stated, allowing insurers to impose annual and lifetime caps means “putting meaningful coverage out of reach for many Americans, especially those with chronic and pre-existing conditions.” These plans put insurance companies back in charge, not consumers. 

As Many As 135 Million Americans Have A Pre-Existing Condition

  • According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 135 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:
    • 44 million people who have high blood pressure
    • 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
    • 44 million people who have high cholesterol
    • 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
    • 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
  • 17 million children, 68 million women, and 30 million people aged 55-64 have a pre-existing condition.

No Plan, No Replacement, Just Repeal: Seema Verma’s Testimony Exposes Trump Administration’s True Sabotage Agenda

Washington, DC — Today, CMS Administrator Seema Verma testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee where she defended the Trump administration’s continued sabotage of Americans’ health care and evaded direct questions, refusing to admit they have no replacement plan if the Texas lawsuit to terminate the Affordable Care Act is successful. In response to her testimony, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement: 

“Seema Verma’s testimony today makes crystal clear that President Trump’s only plan is to sabotage Americans’ health care and repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement. Verma evaded direct questions and shamelessly defended the administration’s attacks on Americans health care such as slashing funding for open enrollment, pushing junk insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions and dismantling Medicaid by pushing onerous work requirements that kick people off the rolls. One would think that Seema Verma’s taxpayer-funded image consultants could have prepared her with better spin for her testimony, but no amount of cheap rhetoric could mask the reality of this administration’s unprecedented actions to take away health care from millions of Americans.

“Americans simply want to know why this administration is so hellbent on taking away their health care, and Verma’s testimony did little to calm their fears.”

Seema Verma’s War On Health Care, Disastrous Leadership at CMS to Be On Full Display at Today’s House Hearing

Verma Has Led The Charge In Trump’s War On Health Care and Must Answer For Her Role In Pushing His Sabotage Agenda At Today’s E&C Hearing

Washington, DC — Ahead of CMS Administrator Seema Verma’s testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement: 

“Since day one, Seema Verma has championed Trump’s health care sabotage agenda and  undermined Americans’ health care at every turn. Under Verma’s leadership, CMS has slashed the budget for open-enrollment, pushed junk insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions and sought to dismantle Medicaid by pushing onerous work requirements that kick people off the rolls. Fewer people are covered today by the Affordable Care Act and premiums are higher because of Seema Verma. Even her taxpayer-funded image consultants couldn’t salvage the damage done from her shameful campaign to undermine Americans’ health care. At tomorrow’s hearing, she must be held accountable for her role as a leader in Trump’s relentless war on health care.” 

BACKGROUND:

Seema Verma: Leading the Charge in Trump’s War On Health Care

Five Key Ways Verma Has Been At The Center Of Trump’s War On Health Care:

1. Seema Verma Led The Charge To Push Disastrous Medicaid Work Requirements. The Trump administration approved so-called work requirement proposals in nine states. After it became clear that thousands were being thrown off the Medicaid rolls under Arkansas’s program, Verma said these coverage losses were “not necessarily a bad thing,” and proceeded to approve waivers in other states. Medicaid work requirements have been repeatedly shot down in court, but Verma suggested this would not dissuade the administration’s efforts to approve programs in other states. Meanwhile, a recent GAO report found that the administrative costs to implement the failed work requirement programs in five states topped $400 million.  

2. Verma Tried To Blame The Health Care Law After 2 Million Lost Coverage. In September 2019, the Census revealed a steep rise in uninsured Americans for the first time since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Despite a resounding consensus from health care experts, the CMS administrator refused to concede the administration’s role in driving up the uninsured rate and instead pointed the finger at the very law that resulted in record number of insured Americans. 

3. Verma Claimed – Without Evidence – That The Trump Administration Had A “Contingency Plan” If The Texas Lawsuit Successfully Overturns The ACA. After a coalition of Republican-led states took to the courts to repeal the ACA, the Trump administration took the extraordinary step to refuse to defend the constitutionality of the law. Falling in line with Trump’s narrative, Verma has claimed that Trump has “contingency plans” if the ACA is overturned despite evidence to the contrary. In fact, the Trump administration has indicated it will seek to delay the ruling if the court overturns the ACA until after 2020 in order to save the health care system from complete chaos during Trump’s re-election campaign.  

4. Verma Has Sought To Dismantle Medicaid Through Block Grants. After reports that Verma was attempting to bypass Congress to allow states to block grant their Medicaid programs, Gov. Mike Dunleavy revealed Verma urged Alaska to be the first state to apply for these block grants. Other states have taken notice: Tennessee has moved to seek a block grant, with state officials saying that they have been “encouraged” by the CMS to pursue the policy. 

5. Verma Spent Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars On Image Consultants After Making Cuts To Critical Programs. Reporting exposed that Verma directed millions of taxpayer dollars in contracts to Republican communications consultants in order to help her brand. Politico noted that the consultants came during “a time when Verma has made cuts elsewhere, such as reducing advertising for Obamacare enrollment by tens of millions of dollars.” 

Bottom Line: Verma’s efforts have undoubtedly resulted in coverage losses and injected confusion in our health care system. In today’s hearing, Verma must explain to the American people why she supports taking away their health care. 

Empty Words: Seema Verma’s Prepared Testimony to E&C Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is Nothing More Than a Fairy Tale

CMS Administrator Seema Verma’s prepared remarks for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee tomorrow are nothing more than an attempt to cover up the damage she and the Trump administration have inflicted on Americans’ health care. From supporting repeal of the ACA through the Texas lawsuit, slashing the budget for open-enrollment, pushing junk insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions and dismantling Medicaid by pushing onerous work requirements that kick people off the rolls, Seema Verma has sought to undermine and attack Americans’ health care at every turn. 

Verma’s remarks are a fairy tale version of her time at CMS. Here is the real story of her relentless campaign to attack Americans’ health care and carry out Trump’s sabotage agenda.  

Below is a section-by-section breakdown of the untruths in Verma’s prepared testimony on “CMS Efforts To Empower Patients, Focus on Results, and Unleash Innovation.”

“PATIENTS OVER PAPERWORK”

Red Tape And Work Requirements Are Putting Medicaid For Millions Of Americans At Risk.  

Seema Verma Led The Charge To Push Disastrous Medicaid Work Requirements. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, these onerous paperwork requirements could take health care away from up to 4 Million Americans. After Arkansas imposed the nation’s first so-called work requirements program, more than 18,000 residents lost Medicaid coverage. While these state efforts have been repeatedly blocked by a federal judge, the Trump administration, with the help of Verma, keeps fighting to impose work reporting requirements in Medicaid, appealing federal court rulings that blocked such requirements because they are illegal. Meanwhile, a recent GAO report found that the administrative costs to implement the failed work requirement programs in five states topped $400 million.  

More Than One Million Children Lost Coverage Due To Verma-Backed Efforts To Restrict Medicaid Access. As more than a million children disappeared from Medicaid rolls between 2017 and 2018, health care experts pointed to a “chilling effect” from Trump’s signature policies, including work requirements and frequent eligibility checks. Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said: “This serious erosion of children’s health coverage is due in large part to the Trump Administration’s actions that have made health care harder to access and have deterred families from enrolling their children.” 

“STRENGTHENING MEDICARE”

President Trump And Republicans In Congress Want To Cut Medicare By Hundreds Of Billions All To Pay For Their Tax Cuts For The Wealthiest Americans. In 2017, President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. Since then, Republicans have repeatedly tried to slash hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to pay for their tax breaks.  The 2018 budget resolution passed by Republicans in December 2017 cut Medicare by $473 billion, the FY2019 budget passed by Republicans on the House Budget Committee cut Medicare by an additional $537 billion, and worst of all, the Trump administration released an FY2020 budget that would cut, $845 million from Medicare, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

President Trump Is Trying To Repeal The Affordable Care Act Through The Courts — A Move Which Would Raise Drug Costs For Millions Of People On Medicare.   The Trump administration and Republican attorneys generals are arguing in federal court that the entire Affordable Care Act should be overturned. If they get their way, the Medicare “donut” hole would be immediately re-opened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.

Trump’s Executive Order On Medicare Opens The Door For Privatization. Trump’s proposal to “save” Medicare actually just pushes private plans that have higher administrative costs than Medicare and give significant profits to insurance companies. The proposed changes could lead to higher costs for patients and “potentially expose some to surprise medical bills.” 

“CHOICE AND AFFORDABILITY ON THE EXCHANGES”

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. These plans put insurance companies back in charge, not consumers.

The Trump Administration Has Sabotaged Open Enrollment. CMS 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.

“LOWERING DRUG PRICES” 

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.” According to CBS News: “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.” 

As The Cost Of Drugs Skyrocket, President Trump And His Republican Allies In Congress Refuse To Allow Medicare To Negotiate For Lower Prescription Drug Prices. Under current law, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is explicitly prohibited from negotiating directly with drug manufacturers on behalf of Medicare Part D enrollees. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, Republicans in Congress have remained staunchly opposed to negotiation.  Despite his numerous campaign promises, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was noticeably absent from President Trump’s prescription drug plan, and the administration has remained silent about whether it supports the House Democrats’ plan to allow negotiation and lower drug costs

Pharmaceutical Companies Reaped Huge Benefits From The Trump Tax Bill. The Trump tax scam means billions of dollars in tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies. An Axios study found that 21 health care companies collectively expected to gain $10 billion in tax savings during 2018 alone. Most of the tax break for health care companies is going toward share buybacks, dividends, acquisitions and paying down debt. According to Axios, nine pharmaceutical companies are spending a combined $50 billion on new share buyback programs. 

“TRANSFORMING MEDICAID”

Trump’s 2020 Budget Would Result In More Than $1 Trillion In Medicaid Cuts Over 10 Years. By shifting to a block grant program and eliminating funding for Medicaid expansion, the administration would cut Medicaid by more than $1 trillion over 10 years. 

Verma Has Sought To Dismantle Medicaid Through Block Grants. After reports that Verma was attempting to bypass Congress to allow states to block grant their Medicaid programs, Gov. Mike Dunleavy revealed Verma urged Alaska to be the first state to apply for these block grants. Other states have taken notice: Tennessee has moved to seek a block grant, with state officials saying that they have been “encouraged” by the CMS to pursue the policy. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Medicaid block grants would slash federal funding, shift costs to states, and leave millions more uninsured.

 “UNLEASHING INNOVATION”

Trump’s Signature Health Care “Innovation” Proposals Rely On The Affordable Care Act — Which Would Be Eliminated If The Administration Has Its Way In Court. Trump’s proposal to shift dialysis care to patients’ homes relies on The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which would be eliminated if the Trump administration successfully convinces the courts to overturn the health care law. The president promoted a policy that would seek to close the gap between drug costs in the U.S. and overseas, which also relies on ACA authority. One Trump official even bragged that the ACA gives “tremendous authority” to issue executive orders on health care, even as the administration continues to undermine the health care law. 

“RETHINKING RURAL HEALTH” 

The Trump-Verma Health Care Agenda Fails Rural Communities. The Affordable Care Act opened the door to Medicaid expansion, which expanded coverage to 1.7 million rural Americans, reduced rural hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, and helped rural health providers keep their doors open. Following Medicaid expansion, the uninsured rate in rural parts of expansion states decreased by a median of 44 percent, and nearly one in four rural Americans now have health coverage through Medicaid. In addition to imposing work rules and other paperwork requirements to restrict Medicaid access, the Trump administration is arguing in court that the entire Affordable Care Act, including its Medicaid expansion, should be overturned. 

“ENSURING SAFETY AND QUALITY IN NURSING HOMES”

President Trump And Seema Verma Have Rolled Back Protections For Nursing Home Residents.  Under Seema Verma’s leadership, the Trump administration has cut the size of fines for health violations in nursing homes. Federal records show that the average fine dropped to $28,405 under Verma’s tenure, down from $41,260 in 2016.  Experts say that for large nursing homes, these smaller fines are merely a “rounding error” giving them less incentive to fix faulty and dangerous practices before someone gets hurt.

According to Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney and expert on nursing home regulation at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Verma’s record on regulating the worst of the worst in the nursing care industry is even worse. Edelmen found that found that the Trump administration has largely pulled back its enforcement of “special focus facilities,”  those nursing homes cited for a pattern of serious infractions, issuing increasingly small fines even though the government continued to cite them for serious violations.

The Trump administration has also rolled back an Obama-era regulation that blocked nursing facilities from requiring that disputes with residents be settled in private arbitration — a move that the nursing home industry had aggressively sought.  Families often feel pressured to sign arbitration agreements and only find out later that they are prevented from suing if they believe their loved ones received bad care. 

“WORKING WITH CONGRESS” 

Verma Has A Record Of Flouting Oversight And Ignoring Congress.  Less than a week ago Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone sent a letter to Verma and HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding responses to several outstanding document requests of the Trump Administration’s implementation of the ACA.  Pallone has warned that any further attempts to obstruct legitimate oversight requests could result in “compulsory” measures, including subpoenas. Despite the clear will of the voters and the Congressional majority, Verma also claims that the administration is “working on” a plan to repeal the ACA that not even members of her own party are aware of. 

Déjà Vu All Over Again: House Republicans Trot Out Same Tired Proposals That Have Been Rejected by the American People

Washington, DC — Today, the Republican Study Committee reiterated its never ending support for repealing the Affordable Care Act and unveiled the House GOP’s latest plan to convince the American people that it will protect their health care. Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement in response:

“This new GOP plan is nothing more than a rehash of their failed proposals that have been rejected in Congress and in voting booths across the country. And what Republican alternative would be complete without a false claim that their proposal would protect Americans with pre-existing conditions? After ten years of attempting to repeal the ACA without a viable replacement plan, you’d think they would have learned their lesson.”