Monthly Archives

November 2019

Health Care Drives Virginia Democrats To Historic Victory In State Elections

Washington, DC — Tonight, Virginia Democrats won an historic victory, electing a majority in both the House of Delegates and State Senate. Health care was a prevailing issue throughout the election, as Democrats across the commonwealth ran aggressive campaigns on successfully implementing Medicaid expansion, protecting Virginians with pre-existing conditions and lowering prescription drug costs. In response to Democrats’ victory, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Virginia Democrats won because they put health care front and center this election. Whether delivering on Medicaid expansion, working to lower prescription drug costs or ensuring that Virginian’s with pre-existing conditions maintain their protections, Virginia Democrats showed they are the only party serious about defending and improving Virginians’ health care. This historic win should serve as a warning to Republicans across the country that their years of attacks on Americans’ health care won’t stand with voters any longer.”  

Health Care Propels Andy Beshear to Victory in Kentucky Governor’s Race

McConnell Be Warned: Matt Bevin’s War on Kentuckians’ Health Care Comes Back to Bite Him in Bluegrass State  

Washington, DC — Tonight, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) defeated incumbent Governor Matt Bevin (R) to become Kentucky’s next governor-elect. Beshear ran a campaign focused on improving Kentuckians’ health care, preserving Medicaid expansion and reversing Matt Bevin’s years-long sabotage of health care. In response to Beshear’s victory, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement: 

“Andy Beshear won this race by making health care a centerpiece of his campaign. By vowing to protect Medicaid expansion, ensure protections for Kentuckians with pre-existing conditions, rein in pharmaceutical companies, and reverse Matt Bevin’s sabotage, Beshear made clear to voters he was the only candidate serious about improving their health care. Beshear’s victory in Kentucky sends a warning to Republicans across the country that even in Mitch McConnell’s backyard, their relentless war on Americans’ health care will continue to cost them at the ballot box.” 

Senators Shaheen and Murphy Introduce Legislation to Fight Increased Health Care Costs Created By Trump’s Sabotage

Washington, DC — Today, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the “Fair Indexing for Health Care Affordability Act,” legislation that would reverse the Trump administration’s rule change making fewer Americans eligible for premium tax credits provided by the Affordable Care Act and also significantly increasing their out-of-pocket costs in the process. Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement in response:

“Senator Shaheen and Senator Murphy are fighting back against the Trump administration’s sabotage agenda with legislation that takes aim at their harmful actions that increase out-of-pocket costs for patients. While President Trump and Republicans do everything in their power to undermine Americans’ access to health care, Senate Democrats are taking action to make health care more affordable for millions of Americans.” 

Health Care Remains Dominant Issue in Key 2019 Races

One year ago, in reaction to President Trump and the GOP’s efforts to repeal and sabotage the Affordable Care Act, Democrats rode the issue of health care to victories up and down the ballot, including capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. A year later, President Trump and Republicans have continued to mount a relentless war on health care and not surprisingly the issue, and Medicaid expansion in particular, is dominating in elections across the country. 

HEADLINES

Politico: “Today’s Elections Could Alter Several Southern States’ Health Care Agendas.” [Politico, 11/5/19]  

  • Kentucky: “In Kentucky, unpopular incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin has threatened to throw hundreds of thousands of low-income people off coverage if his pioneering Medicaid overhaul doesn’t survive a legal challenge that’s winding its way through the courts. Meanwhile, Bevin’s Democratic opponent Andy Beshear, the state’s attorney general, has made Obamacare a prominent focus of his campaign and vowed to undo Bevin’s controversial Medicaid reforms.”
  • Mississippi: “Mississippi would inch closer to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act if it elects Democrat Jim Hood, the state’s popular attorney general who has made the coverage program a signature issue in his competitive challenge against GOP Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. The state, known for having some of the worst health outcomes in the nation, is one of 14 that has refused to adopt the Obamacare coverage program.”
  • Virginia: “Democrats are trying to win control of the state legislature in part by relying on a health care-heavy message, including that only they can be trusted to protect the state’s expansion of Medicaid that’s covered more than 300,000 people.” 

NBC News: Medicaid Expansion Core Campaign Issue Of Gubernatorial Election. “Meanwhile, health care costs continue to grow, creating a core campaign issue in Mississippi’s gubernatorial election that will be decided Tuesday. State Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, supports expansion to address costs, while Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves opposes it.” [NBC News, 11/4/19

Roll Call: “Republicans In Kentucky, Mississippi And Louisiana Vow To Scale Back Or Block Expansion.” “Races next month for governor in three states could affect the medical coverage of hundreds of thousands of people and offer test cases of how voters might view health care issues — particularly Medicaid for lower-income people.In Mississippi, the Democratic candidate vows to expand Medicaid under the national health care law, while the Republican opposes that. Kentucky GOP Gov. Matt Bevin wants to scale back coverage that his Democratic opponent’s father, a former governor, expanded. And in Louisiana, incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards touts his expansion of Medicaid while his GOP rival would freeze enrollment. [Roll Call, 10/30/19

Vox: Health Care Is On The Ballot In State Elections. “The races for governor this November in Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Virginia haven’t attracted nearly as much attention as next spring’s presidential primaries, but they are hugely important to hundreds of thousands of voters without access to health care.” [Vox, 10/29/19

Washington Times: Medicaid Expansion Is “Back On The Ballot Across The South.” “The decision by states whether to extend their Medicaid coverage to low-income, able-bodied people under Obamacare has put the topic back on the ballot across the South. In looming gubernatorial contests, voters are debating whether Louisiana and Kentucky should stay the course and in Mississippi whether they should join the Medicaid expansion club.” [Washington Times, 10/2/19

Politico: Democrats In Kentucky, Louisiana, And Mississippi “Embracing” ACA And Medicaid Expansion As Elections Approach. “Although the states are Trump strongholds, Democrats are embracing the ACA — a strategy that helped them win the House last November and pick up several governorships.” [Politico, 10/8/19

Trump Campaigns in Kentucky to Stand Side-By-Side With His Partner in Relentless War on Health Care

Washington, DC — President Trump is heading to Lexington, Kentucky for a rally tonight to campaign for one of America’s least popular governors, Matt Bevin. Bevin’s deep unpopularity stems from his unwavering support for Trump’s war on health care that puts Kentuckians at risk of higher costs and worse or lost coverage. In response to tonight’s rally, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s visit to Kentucky tonight only brings greater attention to his and Matt Bevin’s relentless attacks on Kentuckians’ health care. From rolling back Medicaid expansion, supporting junk insurance plans that don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions, and repealing the Affordable Care Act to rip away health care from hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, Matt Bevin is a shameless ‘yes man’ for Trump’s sabotage agenda. Tomorrow, voters in Kentucky have a chance to put an end to Matt Bevin’s disastrous tenure as governor and make clear to Donald Trump that they reject his war on health care.” 

BACKGROUND:

Repealing the Affordable Care Act Would Devastate Kentuckians

  • 379,000 Kentuckians could lose coverage. According to the Urban Institute, 379,000 Kentuckians would lose coverage by repealing the Affordable Care Act, leading to a 151 percent increase in the uninsured rate.
  • 1,795,500 Kentuckians who have pre-existing conditions could lose key protections, including 240,400 Kentucky children, 907,000 Kentucky women, and 412,100 Kentuckians between ages 55 and 64. 
  • 479,600 Kentuckians enrolled through Medicaid expansion could lose coverage. Seventeen million people have coverage through the expanded Medicaid program, including 479,600 in Kentucky. 

Bevin Wants To Dismantle Medicaid Expansion. Under the leadership of Governor Bevin, Kentucky proposed a Medicaid overhaul that would throw nearly 86,000 enrollees off the rolls within five years. Bevin also led the charge in imposing harmful Medicaid work requirements, which have since been blocked by a federal judge.

Bevin Supports The Trump Lawsuit’s Goal Of Repealing The ACA “In Its Entirety.” “Gov. Matt Bevin has taken a stronger stance against Obamacare than his fellow Republican governors, urging Congress to repeal it ‘in its entirety’ and saying that if Medicaid expansion under the reform law must continue, then only those under the federal poverty line (FPL) should get it.” [Kentucky Health News, 1/26/17

Bevin Supports Skimpy Association Health Plans. “Would association health plans, a type of insurance that makes it easier for small employers to band together, free of many of the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, provide enough protections to consumers? Gov. Matt Bevin’s health secretary says they would. Attorney General Andy Beshear, who is running against Bevin, says they wouldn’t. Bevin and officials from 15 other states, filed a court brief June 7 urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reverse a lower court’s decision against expanded access to association health plans.” [Kentucky Health News, 6/21/19

  • AHPs Can Discriminate Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions And Charge Higher Premiums Based On Age, Gender Or Geography. “The American Medical Association sides with Beshear on this issue. In a 2018 friend-of-the-court brief, the AMA laid out a list of concerns. ‘There is a significant risk that AHPs could disproportionately impact individuals with pre-existing conditions,’ the AMA said. ‘To be sure, on its face, the regulation states that it protects coverage of pre-existing conditions. But in reality, AHPs can easily evade that crucial legal requirement by using proxies for health status.’  For example, AMA wrote that AHPs ‘can charge premiums based on factors that are not explicitly defined in terms of health or medical conditions, but that closely track those forbidden factors.’ Further, it notes that the AHP rule allows them to charge different premiums based on age, gender, industry or geography. ‘But each of those seemingly neutral characteristics can be used to disguise differential treatment based on health status or one’s likelihood of suffering from particular pre-existing conditions.’” [Kentucky Health News, 6/21/19

Arizonans, Coloradans, Iowans and North Carolinians Condemn Senate Republicans’ Vote Against Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats forced a vote to roll back the Trump administration’s promotion of junk insurance plans that don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions. Unsurprisingly, Senate Republicans blocked the bill’s passage, and in doing so, made clear they side with insurance companies over the wellbeing of their constituents with pre-existing conditions. 

In response, Protect Our Care held events in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina to hold Republican Senators Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley and Thom Tillis accountable for failing to support the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Here’s a brief roundup of Protect Our Care’s Senate Accountability events:

ARIZONA

Visit to Senator McSally’s Phoenix Office Condemning Her Vote Against Pre-Existing Conditions

Protect Our Care Arizona joined Pat Thomas, an Arizonan with a pre-existing condition, and health care advocates on Thursday to condemn Senator McSally’s ‘no’ vote and failure to protect the health care of Arizonans with pre-existing conditions. Thomas criticized her Senator for prioritizing special interests over those of Arizonans. You can view the post-event release here.

COLORADO

Visit to Senator Gardner’s Denver Office Condemning His Vote Against Pre-Existing Conditions

Protect Our Care Colorado was joined by Adela Flores-Brennan of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiatives, Laura Packard, a health care activist and cancer survivor, and  Dana Miller of Indivisible Front Range Resistance on Thursday to condemn Senator Cory Gardner’s ‘no’ vote and failure to protect the health care of Coloradans with pre-existing conditions. Following the vote, Senator Gardner released a statement mischaracterizing his vote, and attempting to hide behind the 1332 waivers which allowed Colorado to add a reinsurance program. However, the Warner/Shaheen resolution would not have eliminated 1332 reinsurance plans. Instead, it would have precluded the existing regulation that expands the use of the 1332 waivers to make short-term limited duration (STLD) plans more available and affordable and would not have resulted in the elimination of Colorado’s reinsurance plan. View the post-event release here.

Colorado Times Recorder: Gardner Falsely Claims His Vote Protects People With Pre-existing Conditions

IOWA

Rally Outside Sen. Ernst’s and Grassley’s Des Moines Offices

After the Senate held a vote on the Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Resolution, Iowans rallied together on Thursday to condemn Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley for voting ‘no’ and failing to protect the health care of Iowans with pre-existing conditions. Iowans gathered outside the Senators’ offices in Des Moines, and constituents delivered hundreds of signatures on a petition condemning the vote. You can view the post-event release here

Rally Outside Sen. Ernst’s and Grassley’s Cedar Rapids Offices

Iowans showed up outside both Senator Ernst’s and Grassely’s offices in cedar rapids after the CRA vote to express their disagreement with the senators’ votes. Attendees also delivered the petition and talked with Senate staff about their disappointment with the way the senators voted. You can view the post-event release here

Rally Outside Sen. Ernst’s and Grassley’s Waterloo Offices

In Waterloo, Iowans showed at their senators’ offices with a copy of the petition to emphasize their disagreement on the votes. They demanded that Ernst and Grassley stand up and protect their care in the future. You can view the post-event release here

Iowa Starting Line: Iowans Protest Ernst, Grassley’s Votes for Junk Insurance Plans

Iowa Labor News: Iowans Hold Ernst, Grassley Accountable for Pre-Existing Conditions VoteErnst and Grassley’s Vote Will Harm Iowans With Pre-Existing Conditions

Iowa Labor News: Stop Ernst & Grassley’s spooky Halloween vote

NORTH CAROLINA

Press Call with Health Care Advocates to Condemn Senator Tillis’ Vote Against North Carolinians with Pre-Existing Conditions 

Protect Our Care North Carolina was joined by Brad Woodhouse, the Executive Director of Protect Our Care, Stacy Staggs of Little Lobbisysts, and Kara Konrad, a North Carolinaian with a pre-existing condition on a press call Thursday to condemn Senator Tillis’ ‘no’ vote and failure to protect the health care of North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions. Stacy Staggs and Kara Konrad, North Carolinians who rely on these protections to access health care and provide care to their families, blasted Senator Tillis for failing them with this vote. View the post-event release here, and listen to the call audio here

SHOT/CHASER: Alex Azar Wants You to Believe the ACA Isn’t Working, Ignoring All the Ways the Law Helps Americans

SHOT: HHS Secretary Alex Azar And The Trump Administration ‘Believe The Affordable Care Act Simply Doesn’t Work.’ [Washington Post, 11/1/19]

CHASER: The Affordable Care Act Is Working For Millions Of Americans Who Rely on The Law Every Day. Here’s How:

  • 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions are now protected
  • 17 million people gained coverage through Medicaid expansion
  • Nearly 12 million seniors pay less for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ was closed
  • 2.3 million adult children are able to stay on their parents’ insurance
  • Women able to access coverage without being charged 50 percent more than men 
  • 9 million people can purchase health care in the marketplace with federal assistance
  • Rural hospitals gained key support from the law 
  • Lifetime caps on coverage by insurance companies are banned
  • Insurance companies are required to cover prescription drugs and maternity care
  • Older Americans are protected from being charged an “age tax” by insurance companies

[Protect Our Care, 4/11/19]

Georgia’s Proposed Waiver Will Throw Georgians’ Health Care Into Chaos

Washington, DC — Yesterday, Georgia’s Republican governor requested a 1332 waiver to enact drastic changes to the state’s health care program that will put Georgians’ health care at risk. The proposed waiver would dismantle Georgia’s marketplace and push consumers to junk plans that don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions. In response to the state’s waiver request, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement: 

“Georgia’s Republican governor is taking unprecedented steps to enact Trump’s sabotage agenda by injecting chaos into Georgia’s health care system and putting the health care of over one million Georgians at risk. The proposed waiver would ban Georgians from using HealthCare.gov to purchase plans on the ACA marketplace, pushing them instead to junk insurance plans that don’t cover essential health benefits and insurance brokers who won’t act in patients’ best interests. This proposal is the actualization of Trump’s sabotage agenda to strip protections for pre-existing conditions and kick people off their coverage. Georgia’s actions should be a wakeup call that state Republicans are dead-serious about following through on the Trump administration’s war on health care.”