From start to finish, the top issue for the American people in 2019 was health care. The year started with a new Democratic House majority built on public opposition to Republican health care repeal and ended on the GOP lawsuit to try yet again overturn the Affordable Care Act.
The Democratic House majority passed landmark reforms to protect pre-existing conditions and to reduce the price of prescription drugs and voters backed pro-health care candidates to flip the Virginia legislature, re-elect the Louisiana’s Democratic governor and oust Kentucky’s Republican governor.
At the end of 2018, the midterm elections showed…
2018 national exit polls confirmed health care was the top issue for voters, with 41 percent listing it as the top issue facing the country. [CNN, November 2018]
As the new Congress began, Americans priorities were clear…
Health care almost tied with economy with 69% ranking reducing health care costs as the top priority for Congress and Trump. [Pew Research Center, January 2019]
Through summer 2019….
APRIL: 55% of Americans worry “a great deal” about the availability and affordability of health care, topping Gallup’s list of Americans’ worries for the fifth straight year. [Gallup, 4/1/19]
MAY: 45% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans and 31% of independents ranked health care as their top concern in a May RealClear Opinion Research Poll. [Axios, 5/21/19]
JUNE: Americans cited health care as the top issue for the federal government to address, ahead of the economy, immigration, national security and other issues, according to a June 2019 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. [Wall Street Journal, 6/2/19]
SEPTEMBER: Health care topped the list of most important issues among registered voters ahead of 2020,with 51% ranking as “extremely important”in a September 2019 CNN poll.[CNN, 9/11/19]
In the 2019 elections, health care dominated and pro-health care candidates won…
Vox: “Health Care Is On The Ballot In State Elections Starting Next Week” [Vox, 10/29/19]
POLITICO: “Democrats Bet Big On Obamacare To Win Virginia Statehouse” [Politico, 9/4/19]
Axios: “Matt Bevin’s Loss In Kentucky Is A Health Care Setback For Trump” [Axios, 11/6/19]
Forbes: “In Blow To Trump’s Medicaid Policies, Democrat Wins In Louisiana” [Forbes, 11/16/19]
One year out from 2020, health care still tops the list…
November 2019 Fox News Poll Found Health Care Tops The List Of Issues That Will Be “Extremely Important” To Their 2020 Presidential Vote. “Slim majorities of voters say health care (53 percent) and the economy (52 percent) will be extremely important to their vote for president in November 2020.” [Fox News, 11/4/19]
November 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll Found Health Care Remains Top Issue For Democrats. [Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/20/19]
November 2019 YouGov Poll Found That Health Care Is The Number #1 Issue For Voters. [The Economist/YouGov, November 2019]
December 2019 Quinnipiac Poll Found That 85 Percent Of Voters Said That Health Care Is “Very Important” To Their Vote For President. [Quinnipiac, 12/10/19]
Yesterday, Protect Our Care held more than a dozen press events across the country with members of Congress, attorneys general, state and local elected officials, patient advocates and people with pre-existing conditions in reaction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of the Trump-Republican lawsuit that puts Americans’ health care coverage at risk.
Here’s some of the coverage from yesterday’s events:
Rochester Post Bulletin (MN): ‘The ACA Is 10 Points More Popular Than The President’: Advocates Fear Looming End To Obamacare Provisions. “For Slavitt, prolonging its court challenges harms the economic welfare of Americans who take security in its stability. ‘It’s still the law of the land, but the longer this case is out there the more uncertainty it creates,’ he said. ‘If you are contemplating leaving your job and being a freelancer, and you have a kid with asthma, this does affect your life, because now you’re not sure if two years from now, someone is going to say you don’t have to be offered insurance that protects your kid’s asthma. Healthcare is an underpinning which keeps people in a middle class life, with economic mobility. Any time you undermine those things, you’re undermining people’s ability to live the kind of life they want to live.’”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA): What’s Next: Patients Insured Through Obamacare Worry After Court Ruling. “Ms. Raslevich, the mother of two high school students, has been treated for breast cancer since July 2017. Although she faces future operations, her disease is in remission and it was caught early. She’s covered by a student health plan that will end when she graduates, which means she will have to shop for coverage in the commercial market. In the meantime, she worries about making financial decisions that could impact her ability to pay for future medical care. ‘Once I read the news last night, I spent the evening crying,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t sleep.’”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI): AG Josh Kaul Weighs In On Obamacare In Wake Of Federal Court Decision To Strike Down Key Part Of The Act. “‘Earlier this year we withdrew the state of Wisconsin from this lawsuit, which is seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act,’ Kaul said Thursday. ‘And there are a couple of basic reasons for that. One is, the legal challenge in my view is extremely weak. And I think that will ultimately be borne out in court decisions in this case. And much more importantly, this lawsuit is going to be harmful to the best interests of the people of the state of Wisconsin if it’s successful.’”
Star Tribune (MN): Editorial: Legal Threat To ACA Ought To Be Front And Center In 2020 Election. Health care law is once again in legal jeopardy. “The ruling’s timing puts it at risk of being overshadowed by the drama in Washington, D.C. But the nation can ill afford to simply set this aside. Overturning a law that’s been in place for nearly a decade would result in serious disruption of the nation’s health care system. What would happen to the nearly 13 million low-income Americans who became newly eligible for Medicaid coverage under the ACA? How would families who rely on the ACA’s subsidies to buy insurance continue to afford it? Would there be another program to help seniors who found prescription drug cost relief through the ACA’s closure of the Medicare ‘doughnut hole’?”
Georgia Recorder (GA): Georgians React To Federal Appeals Court Ruling Against Obamacare. “State Rep. David Dreyer, an Atlanta Democrat, blamed Carr and other state attorneys general seeking to overturn the law. ‘We have rogue actors working with rogue attorney generals,’ Dreyer said at the Capitol Wednesday. ‘Our own attorney general right here is literally fighting every day to strip health care from millions of Georgians.’’
Maine Public Radio (ME):Democratic State Lawmakers Denounce Court’s Ruling Declaring Part Of ACA Unconstitutional. “Democratic state Rep. Thom Harnett says Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins paved the way for the lawsuit that challenges the ACA when she cast a deciding vote in support of the 2017 Congressional tax bill. ‘So while this is a horrible day for our nation, it is particularly troubling for Maine and its residents given the fact that it was our senator who chose to side with the wealthiest and those getting tax cuts, instead of Mainers who need health care,’ he says.”
WLOS (NC): North Carolina AG Could Join Others In Fighting Affordable Care Act Ruling. “‘The Trump administration and the 18 attorneys general that brought this case will have put an incredible hole in people’s ability to stay alive and to be healthy,’ Stein said. He said more than 4 million people in North Carolina with pre-existing conditions before the Affordable Care Act could be denied coverage by the insurance companies, 500,000 thousand who can now afford healthcare and the 1.8 million seniors who can better afford prescription drugs. ‘While we are deeply disappointed with the court of appeals decision yesterday, this fight is by no means over,’ Stein said.”
WSYX (OH): Concerns Over Affordable Care Act After Court Rules “Individual Mandate” Unconstitutional. “‘It is troubling to see Republican leaders celebrating like this is an early Christmas present. This is something that instead the American people are getting lumps of coal in their stockings,’ said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein…’We are at the precipice of having the Affordable Care Act completely shut down, which is going to jeopardize the millions of Americans, tens of thousands of people right here in the City of Columbus who have pre-existing conditions,’ he said.”
WVII (ME): State Legislators React To Fifth Circuit Court Decision On Affordable Care Act. “‘The consequences here are absolutely stark, the real critical piece is that it is going to strip the financial support for lower and middle-class Americans who are using tax credits to help them afford individual coverage when their health insurance is not provided by their employer,’ said Senator Heather Sanborn, D-Portland.”
After the 5th Circuit Court announced their decision in the Trump-Republican lawsuit that puts the future of Americans’ health care at grave risk, legal experts and editorial boards were quick to weigh in with near-universal condemnation of the court’s ruling.
Washington Post // Editorial Board: Republicans, end this bizarre, belated crusade against Obamacare “Since the collapse of repeal-and-replace, one could imagine that Republicans’ anti-Obamacare fever had finally broken. But the Trump administration and its allies are pressing one last, desperate attempt to unravel the law…”
New York Times // Editorial Board: The Legal Threat to Obamacare Is Back. Again.“Maybe that was the plan all along: to mire the future of Obamacare in litigation, and thus provide Republicans a lifeline on an issue that cost them dearly in the 2018 election. They can continue to degrade the vital protections of Obamacare without taking responsibility for repealing and replacing it, as they so often promised they would.”
Minnesota Star Tribune // Editorial Board: Legal Threat To ACA Ought To Be Front And Center In 2020 Election. “But it’s President Donald Trump and Republicans who should shoulder the responsibility for planning for the chaos the law’s demise could cause. Eliminating the ACA has been something close to a GOP political holy grail. Yet replacement plans offered up, such as those authored by Congressional Republicans in 2017, would result in far fewer Americans having insurance. The ACA is in real jeopardy. Those who put it there owe the nation a serious game plan to clean up the mess they worked to create.”
Philadelphia Inquirer // Robert Field: Americans’ Health Care – And Pre-existing Condition Coverage – Is Again At Risk.“Losing the entire ACA would create chaos throughout the health care system. It could also undermine the integrity of the legal system, since courts would have succeeded in overturning a major piece of legislation without a coherent justification. Of course, neither outcome seems to concern the law’s opponents or the judges who have most recently ruled against it.”
The Atlantic // Nicholas Bagley: A Case That Should Have Been Laughed Out of Court May Kill Obamacare. “The case is a partisan stunt that’s been roundly condemned by lawyers on both sides of the aisle. It should’ve been laughed out of contention long ago. The opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is an embarrassment, both to the Republican-appointed judges who put their names to it and to the federal judiciary as a whole.”
Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Trump administration and Republicans in Texas vs. United States, striking down the ACA’s individual mandate as unconstitutional and remanding to the lower court judge a final decision on what parts of the ACA should be eliminated. Coverage of the court’s decision made clear that terminating the law will put tens of millions of Americans at risk of losing coverage and could “upend the nation’s entire health care system.”
New York Times: “Some 17 Million Americans Could Lose The Coverage Gained Through The Affordable Care Act If The Law Were Thrown Out.” “Some 17 million Americans could lose the coverage gained through the Affordable Care Act if the law were thrown out, more than 50 million people with pre-existing medical conditions could again be denied health insurance and insurers would no longer have to cover people up to age 26 under their parents’ plans.” [New York Times,12/18/19]
NPR/Kaiser Health News: “The Decision Could Upend The Nation’s Entire Health Care System.” “The stakes could not be higher. The case is widely expected to end up at the Supreme Court. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading a coalition of states defending the health law, announced Wednesday night that he would appeal to the high court immediately. And if the high court — which has upheld the ACA twice since its original passage in 2010 — agrees with the appeals court, the decision could upend the nation’s entire health care system.” [NPR,12/18/19]
Bloomberg Law: Obamacare Fate In Limbo As Mandate Tossed, Court Fight Rages On. “The fate of the Affordable Care Act was thrown back into limbo after a federal appeals court found a key piece of the original law unconstitutional, then kicked the case back to the judge who struck it down a year ago.” [Bloomberg Law, 12/18/19]
Los Angeles Times: “The Case Could Strip Coverage From As Many As 20 Million People And Eliminate Scores Of Other Protections.” “If Texas and its allies were to fully prevail, the case could strip coverage from as many as 20 million people and eliminate scores of other protections contained in the healthcare law, including prescription drug assistance for seniors who rely on the Medicare Part D program and a popular rule allowing young people to remain on their parents’ health plans until they are 26.” [Los Angeles Times,12/18/19]
Wall Street Journal: “If The ACA Is Ultimately Wiped Out In Court, The Trump Administration Faces The Possibility That The Number Of Americans Without Health Insurance Would Rise Dramatically.” “If the ACA is ultimately wiped out in court, the Trump administration faces the possibility that the number of Americans without health insurance would rise dramatically. The number of non-elderly people who are uninsured dropped by 19 million from 2010 to 2017 as the ACA went into effect.” [Wall Street Journal,12/18/19]
Associated Press: After Judge Stuck Down The Individual Mandate, The Ultimate Fate Of The Rest Of The Law Including Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions “Remains Unclear.” “The 2-1 ruling handed down by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans means the ultimate fate of the rest of the Affordable Care Act including such popular provisions as protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansion and the ability for children under the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance remains unclear.” [Associated Press,12/18/19]
Reuters: “The Fate Of The Signature Domestic Achievement Of Democratic Former President Barack Obama Remains In Limbo.” “The court, however, avoided answering the key question of whether the rest of the law can remain in place or must be struck down, instead sending the case back to a district court judge for further analysis. That means the fate of the signature domestic achievement of Democratic former President Barack Obama remains in limbo.” [Reuters,12/18/19]
Washington Post: If The ACA Is Overturned, “The Most Popular Element That Would Come Unglued Is Insurance Protections For Americans With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions.” “If the appellate decision is upheld, the most popular element that would come unglued is insurance protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions — the issue that helped House Democrats regain the majority in last year’s elections. Other elements of the law that are at potential risk include insurance subsidies for most people buying health plans through ACA marketplaces, designed for individuals and families that cannot get affordable health benefits through a job; the expansion of Medicaid in three dozen states; the ability of young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they turn 26; and no-charge preventive care for older Americans on Medicare.” [Washington Post,12/18/19]
Politico: “The High-Stakes Ruling Keeps The Legal Threat To Obamacare Alive.” “The high-stakes ruling keeps the legal threat to Obamacare alive while reducing the likelihood the Supreme Court could render a final verdict on the law before the next elections. Still, the appeals court’s decision could renew pressure on President Donald Trump and Republicans to explain how they will preserve insurance protections for preexisting conditions after failing to agree on an Obamacare replacement for years.” [Politico,12/18/19]
CNN: The Decision “Thrusts The Issue Of Health Care Into The Forefront” Of The 2020 Campaign. “The 2-1 decision by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals likely pushes any Supreme Court action on Obamacare until after the 2020 election but again thrusts the issue of health care into the forefront of the campaign — and extends the uncertainty surrounding the future of the landmark law, long a political target for President Donald Trump and other Republicans.” [CNN,12/18/19]
CNN: Following The Trump Administration’s Argument To Invalidate The Law In GOP States “Would Throw The Nation’s Health Care System Into Chaos.” “Invalidating the law in only the 18 states in the lawsuit would throw the nation’s health care system into chaos and deepen the inequality of access to health care that already exists. Also, several provisions — such as making it easier to obtain lower-cost versions of certain complex drugs, changing Medicare payment rates or increasing certain taxes on wealthier Americans — would be difficult to divide up by state.” [CNN,12/18/19]
USA Today: The Decision Could “Jeopardize Health Insurance For Millions Of Americans And Set Up An Election-Year Showdown At The Supreme Court.” “A federal appeals court in New Orleans struck down a major part of the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, a decision that eventually could jeopardize health insurance for millions of Americans and set up an election-year showdown at the Supreme Court.” [USA Today,12/18/19]
The Hill: Court Ruling Reignites ObamaCare Fight For 2020. “ObamaCare was thrust back into the 2020 spotlight on Wednesday after a federal appeals court ruling added new uncertainty over the law’s future.” [The Hill, 12/19/19]
ABC News: There Is No “Viable Alternative” To The ACA. There is not currently a viable alternative to the law that can pass the House and Senate and get signed into law by Trump. Trump told ABC News in June that he will be unveiling a “phenomenal” health care plan within the next two months. He never did so.” [ABC,12/18/19]
The Hill “The Ruling Keeps The Legal Threat To Obamacare Alive.” “The ruling keeps the legal threat to ObamaCare alive and could push the ultimate decision on the case past 2020.” [The Hill,12/18/19]
Appeals Court Sides with GOP Led Plaintiffs in Declaring Law Unconstitutional, Remands Final Decision to Judge who Already Said Entire Law Should Fall
Washington, DC — Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Trump administration and Republicans in Texas vs. United States, striking down as unconstitutional the ACA’s individual mandate and remanding to the lower court judge a final decision on what parts of the ACA should be eliminated – the very judge who has already ruled the entire law unconstitutional. The fix is in.
In response to the court’s decision, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:
“This decision all but assures the entire health care law will be repealed. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with President Trump and Republicans in declaring a key portion of the ACA unconstitutional and sent the rest back to a judge who has already ruled the entire law unconstitutional. The fix is in. Thanks to Trump and Republicans, every part of the of the ACA is on the chopping block.
“If the Trump administration and Republicans have their way in the end, 20 million Americans will lose their insurance coverage,135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be stripped of their protections, and costs will go up for millions.
“Make no mistake, this is Donald Trump’s health care plan. President Trump and Republicans own this lawsuit and all of its devastating consequences; kick people off their coverage, take protections away from people with pre-existing conditions, and line the pockets of insurance and drug companies. From start to finish, this was a partisan lawsuit with the sole purpose of ripping health care away from American families.”
President Trump is trying to rip apart our health care by going to court to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. If the court upholds its prior decision, it will strip coverage from millions of Americans, raise premiums, 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.
If Trump And His GOP Allies Have Their Way…Protections for more than 135 million people with preexisting conditions would be ripped away. Millions would pay more for drugs. More than 20 million would lose coverage altogether. Insurance companies would be able to sell policies that don’t cover you when you are sick and don’t even have to cover prescription drugs, cancer treatments or maternity care.
The Trump Health Care Plan: higher costs, less coverage, gutting protections for pre-existing conditions and insurance companies having all the power.
Under The Trump Health Care Plan:
GONE: Protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be gutted.
GONE: More than 20 million Americans will lose coverage. 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: Protections for older Americans that prevent them from being charged an “age tax.”
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 more than men.
GONE: Financial assistance that helps 9 million people purchase health care in the marketplace will go away.
GONE: Key support for rural hospitals will be eliminated. 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.
And There’s More:
GONE: Rules that ensure your hard-earned premium dollars go to your health care, not insurance company profits.
GONE: Contraception coverage for 60 million people who now have access to birth control with no out-of-pocket costs.
GONE: Consumer protections that prohibit drug companies from paying off doctors behind closed doors to influence the drugs they prescribe to patients.
GONE: A ban on discrimination against women, LGBTQ Americans, and individuals with disabilities in health care settings.
GONE: Essential protections for breastfeeding parents, including workplace standards and access to breast pumps with no out-of-pocket costs.
GONE: Legal authorization for the Indian Health Service, which provides basic health care services to 2.6 Million American Indians And Alaska Natives.
GONE: Medicare and Medicaid’s authority to test key programs that save money and help Americans receive better care.
GONE: Calorie counts on menus at restaurants.
138 Million Americans Could Once Again Have To Pay For 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 138 million Americans, most of whom have employer coverage.
Women Could Be Charged More Than Men For The Same Coverage. Prior to the ACA, women, for example, were often charged premiums on the nongroup market of up to 50 percent higher than they charged men for the same coverage.
Nine Million People In The Marketplaces Would Pay More For Coverage. Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, consumers no longer have access to tax credits that help them pay their marketplace premiums, meaning roughly nine million people who receive these tax credits to pay for coverage will have to pay more.
Seniors Will Have To Pay More For Prescription Drugs. Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole would be reopened. 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.
Washington, DC — Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a draft proposal to potentially allow Americans, after a years-long regulatory process and action by individual states, to import select prescription drugs from Canada. According to reporting from Politico, the draft plan has no actual implementation date and excludes “biologics such as insulin and the popular drug HUMIRA to treat rheumatoid arthritis.” Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:
“The draft plan released by the Trump administration is riddled with loopholes large enough for drug companies to drive a truck through. If President Trump was serious about standing up to drug companies and lowering costs, he wouldn’t have threatened to veto the plan passed by the House that gives Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices for Americans on Medicare and private insurance. From reversing his position on Medicare drug negotiations, filling a lawsuit against health care that would raise drug prices, and giving out hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to Big Pharma, Trump has proven time and again his allegiance to drug companies over the American people. It’s beyond evident that when it comes to lowering drug prices, Donald Trump continues to be long on rhetoric and empty on results.”
Protect Our Care Campaign Around H.R.3 Included $2 Million in Digital Ads, Op-eds, and Events Across the Country In the Months Surrounding Passage of the Bill
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R.3) — the most comprehensive drug pricing reform in American history. The landmark legislation lowers prescription drug costs for Americans by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices and includes the largest expansion of Medicare benefits in decades. For months, Protect Our Care has been building momentum for H.R.3 with $2 million in ads supporting the bill as well as events across the country with members of Congress to make the case for its passage. Since October, Protect Our Care has held 26 roundtable discussions, town halls and press events in 13 states with elected officials and health care advocates in addition to penning and placing op-eds urging support for the bill. Participants at Protect Our Care’s events made crystal clear the necessity of passing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, imploring Senate Republicans to bring this bill to the floor for an up and down vote.
Here’s a comprehensive overview of Protect Our Care’s events as well as news coverage generated in support of H.R. 3:
Tuesday, October 8th – Health Care Town Hall with Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s (AZ-02) Office
Protect Our Care Arizona joined Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s office at a community town hall in Tucson, to discuss the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), historic legislation, introduced by House Democrats, that will drastically lower prescription drug costs and hold insurance companies accountable. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick discussed her support for health policy proposals that lower prescription drug costs and protect people with preexisting conditions, as she works to ensure that every Arizonan has access to quality, affordable care. View the post-event release here.
KGUN: Community members share their health care concerns at health care town hall
Friday, December 13th — Press Call with Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Patient Advocates
Protect Our Care Arizona was joined by Congressman Tom O’Halleran and health care advocates from across Arizona to discuss the recently passed Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), historic legislation designed to help Americans struggling with high prescription drug costs. Congressman O’Halleran discussed precisely how the bill would offer relief to the millions of Americans who rely on costly prescription drugs, while patient advocates and health care professionals shared their own experiences accessing high-cost prescription drugs. You can listen to the call audio here, and view the post-event release here.
Friday, December 6th:
Press Call with Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) and State Rep. Janet Buckner
Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) and State Rep. Janet Buckner (HD 40) joined Coloradans to talk about the Democrats’ newly-introduced bill, the Lower Drug Prices Now Act (H.R. 3), and its benefits for Coloradans struggling under the weight of increasingly high prescription drug costs. Laura Packard, a stage-4 cancer survivor also joined the call, and called on the U.S. Senate to take action on the bill as soon as the Senate version is introduced. You can view the post-event release here, and listen to the call here.
Roundtable with Rocky Mountain Values at Cafecito
Rocky Mountain Values health advocates and Reps. Yadira Caraveo and Jacques Lewis join together at Cafecito, a Latino leaders roundtable, to discuss the House’s efforts to lower prescription drug costs. You can watch segments from the roundtable discussion here, here, and here.
Wednesday, October 9th – Roundtable with Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06)
Rep. Lucy McBath held a healthcare round table with Protect Our Care to talk with constituents about the current challenges facing the healthcare system, her fight to protect pre-existing conditions, and Speaker Pelosi’s latest push to lower drug costs with the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3). View the post-event release here.
Yahoo Finance: Rep. McBath Meets with AARP Georgia to Discuss Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
Friday, December 13th — Press Call with Physician and Advocates
State Representative Kim Schofield and Dr. Jamie Weisman joined Protect Our Care Georgia for a press call to talk about the Lower Drug Prices Now Act (H.R. 3), which House Democrats passed yesterday, and its benefits for Georgians struggling under the weight of increasingly high prescription drug costs. Listen to the full press call here.
Thursday, December 12th:
Press Call with Rep. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01)
Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer joined Iowa Voices and concerned Iowans for a press call on the day that she cast her vote in favor of H.R. 3. Participants on the call thanked Rep. Finkenauer for her support of the bill and also called on Sens. Ernst and Grassley to support the bill in the Senate. You can view the post-event release here and hear a recording of the call here.
Carolers gathered outside Sen. Joni Ernst’s offices in Waterloo and sang songs about her terrible record on health care. In addition, attendees demanded that Sen. Ernst take a serious look at and support H.R. 3 after it passed the house that same day. Watch video of the carolers here.
Caroling Outside Sen. Ernst’s Cedar Rapids Offices
Concerned Iowans also sang carols outside of Sen. Ernst’s Cedar Rapids office on Thursday—bringing with them the terrible holiday news that the Senator has failed to stand up for Iowans’ health care in the Senate and that she must support legislation like H.R. 3 to ensure that Iowans have access to care at affordable prices.
Caroling Outside Sen. Ernst’s Des Moines Offices
Finally, Iowans struggling under the cost of sky-high prescription drug costs gathered outside Sen. Ernst’s Des Moines office to demand that she support H.R. 3 and lower medication costs for all Iowans—including diabetics and cancer patients.
Wednesday, December 11th — Press Call with State Legislators
Protect Our Care Maine was joined by four state legislators to discuss the crippling burden of rising prescription drug costs for Mainers, and how important passing H.R. 3 is to lower costs for all Americans. Speakers included State Rep. Donna Doore, who is also a three-time cancer survivor; State Rep. Victoria Foley, who sits on the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee; State Rep. Drew Gattine; and State Rep. Ned Claxton, who is also a physician. Listen to the call here and view the press release here.
Monday, October 7th – Costs of Care Conversation with Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)
Protect Our Care Michigan joined Rep. Elissa Slotkin for a “Costs of Care Conversation” at the Old Persons’ Commission in Rochester, Michigan. At the roundtable discussion, Rep. Slotkin discussed Democrats’ bill to lower prescription drug costs, which would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. She urged both Democrats and Republicans to put pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill to a vote in the Senate. View ICYMI here.
WXYZ-TV Detroit:Rep. Elissa Slotkin outlines her prescription drug cost reform bill
MLive: Slotkin commits to legislative priorities while GOP impeachment criticism surges
Monday, December 2nd:
Press Conference in Troy with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11)
Rep. Haley Stevens was joined by Governor Gretchen Whitmer at a clinic in Troy to discuss health care issues, including protections for pre-existing conditions, high drug costs, and ACA open enrollment. Michiganders also shared their stories, and Rep. Stevens highlighted Democrats’ H.R. 3 bill to lower prescription drug costs. See press release here and here.
Roundtable in Lansing with Gov. Whitmer and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)
Rep. Elissa Slotkin was joined by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Lansing to discuss the high costs of prescription drugs and Democrats’ efforts to lower prices, including Democrats’ Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) and Rep. Slotkin’s Real Time Benefits Act, which was included in the Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act (H.R. 2115). After the roundtable discussion, Rep. Slotkin demonstrated a tool from her Real Time Benefits Act at a local pharmacy. See advisory here and press release here.
MIRS: Gov Wants Healthy MI Work Requirements To Take A Break
Gongwer: Whitmer, Slotkin Urge ACA Sign-Ups; Doubt Work Requirements
WLNS: People encouraged to enroll in Affordable Care Act
MLive: Whitmer says Michigan Legislature should pause Medicaid work requirements
AP: Whitmer: Legislature should help pause Medicaid work rules
Wednesday, October 9th – Press Call Before Trump Rally in Minneapolis
Ahead of President Trump’s visit to Minnesota on Wednesday, Protect Our Care Minnesota hosted a press call calling on Donald Trump and Republicans to stop sabotaging Minnesotans’ health care, including the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal current health care protections through the courts and eliminate coverage for millions of Minnesotans with preexisting conditions. This is in stark contrast to how Democrats like Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips are leading the charge to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, and are passing legislation to lower costs and improve care. View the post-call release here and listen to the full audio of the call here.
Sunday, December 15th — Prescription Drugs Roundtable with Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-0
Congressman Dean Phillips hosted a roundtable to discuss the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), which House Democrats passed last week, and its benefits for Minnesotans struggling under the weight of increasingly high prescription drug costs. Phillips was joined by State Reps. Mike Howard and Kelly Morrison, and Minnesota who depend on costly prescription drugs to manage various health conditions. View the post-event release here.
MinnPost:Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02) and Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) Op-Ed: Game-changing H.R. 3 would stop prescription-drug price gouging
WCCO: Bill aims to lower cost of prescription drugs
Wednesday, October 9th – Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03) Health Care Town Hall
Nevada health care advocates championed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) at an event on October 9. The bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and is supported by Rep. Susie Lee. The Nevada Hospital Association, AARP Nevada, Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans, Culinary Health Fund, and Protect Our Care joined Rep. Susie Lee for a discussion on the importance of lowering prescription drug costs. View the post-event release here and an ICYMI including clips from the event here.
Nevada Today: Rep. Susie Lee Holds Community Discussion on Prescription Drug Costs
Sunday, December 15th — Press Conference with Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) and Rep. Susie Lee
On Sunday, Reps. Steven Horsford and Susie Lee held a press conference with dozens of Nevadans to discuss the recent passage of H.R. 3 and the benefits that the bill would have for Nevadans struggling to pay high prices for their prescription medications. You can view a Facebook live of the event here.
Las Vegas Sun:Rep. Horsford Op-Ed: Drug costs must be a priority for Congress
Nevada Current:Op-Ed: Bill would reduce prescription drug prices, too bad GOP is blocking it
Tuesday, October 8th – Health Care Costs Roundtable with Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01)
Protect Our Care New Hampshire joined Congressman Chris Pappas at Potters Bakery and Cafe in Rochester, NH for an intimate discussion with constituents on health care. They discussed the skyrocketing costs of health care, and what Rep. Pappas is doing in Congress to lower costs of prescription drugs. View the post-event release here and ICYMI here.
Fosters: Pappas touts effort to lower Rx drug costs
Concord Monitor: Op-Ed: My Turn: A bill that will bring down drug prices for everyone
Friday, December 13th — Roundtable with Rep. Chris Pappas
Protect Our Care New Hampshire and local residents were joined by Rep. Chris Pappas in Manchester to discuss the Democrats’ recently passed bill, the Lower Drug Prices Now Act (H.R. 3), and its benefits for Granite Staters. The participants thanked Rep. Pappas for his vote and leadership on H.R. 3, then he explained how the bill would help lower drug prices and described what was next on the road to it becoming law. Read the post-event release here.
Monday, December 9th — Press Conference with Local Officials and Patient Advocates
Protect Our Care North Carolina was joined by Commissioner Pat Cotham and Senator Joyce Waddell, and health care advocacy group Action NC to talk about the Democrats’ newly-introduced bill, the Lower Drug Prices Now Act (H.R. 3), and how North Carolinians like Stacy Staggs, who are struggling to pay for vital treatment for serious medical conditions. Speakers urged Senator Thom Tillis to take action when the bill arrives in the Senate. View the post-event release here.
Friday, December 6th — Press Conference Outside Rep. Steve Chabot’s (OH-01) Cincinnati Office
Protect Our Care Ohio was joined by State Rep. Sendrick Denson and advocates from InsulinOhio to discuss the importance of passing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3). Antroinette Worsham, a Cincinnati mom who lost her daughter to diabetic ketoacidosis because of insulin rationing, also spoke. They met outside of the Cincinnati office of Congressman Steve Chabot, who has yet to announce support of the bill.
Thursday, December 12th — Press Call with Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08)
Congressman Matt Cartwright joined a call with the Pennsylvania Health Action Network (PHAN) and several Iowans crushed by the weight of expensive, life saving drugs to discuss the importance of H.R. 3. The congressman emphasized the millions of dollars that would be saved for consumers because of this bill and went on to vote for the historic legislation later in the day. You can view the post-call release here and listen to a recording of the call here.
Advocates held a press conference on Tuesday with patients and advocates to talk about the importance of passing H.R. 3 and Wisconsin Republicans’ failure to support the measure. Participants included Kriss Marion, a southwest Wisconsin who took Enbrel for her rheumatoid arthritis for several years. The drugs now cost about $675 per shot, and Kriss is no longer able to afford the medication.
Press Conference in Green Bay
Advocates also held a press conference on Tuesday in Green Bay with concerned Wisconsinites and patients suffering under the weight of outrageous prescription drug prices. Participants called on President Trump and Republicans to support measures like H.R. 3 that will lower the cost of drugs for Wisconsinites struggling to afford life-saving medications.
Wednesday, December 11th — Press Conference in Milwaukee
To close out a swing through the state, patients and advocates gathered in Milwaukee to talk about prescription drug prices and the need for groundbreaking legislation like H.R. 3. Speakers called out Republicans specifically for their lack of action to lower prescription drug costs—particularly the Trump administration’s inaction on prescription drug legislation. You can view the post-event release here.
WKOW: Democrats Call on GOP to Vote On Lower Drug Costs Now Act
WISC: Democrats Voice Support For Low Cost Drug Act
WisEye: News Conference: Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019
President Trump and Republicans in Congress Continue To Stand With Big Pharma and Oppose Medicare Negotiations
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3): the most comprehensive drug pricing reform in American history. The landmark bill dramatically lowers prescription drug costs for Americans by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices, and includes the largest expansion of Medicare benefits in decades. Coverage of this historic bill’s passage shows that House Democrats delivered on their promise to lower Americans’ drug prices and will continue to fight against Republican and Big Pharma-backed opposition in 2020.
New York Times: “The House, delivering on one of Democrats’ central campaign promises, passed ambitious legislation on Thursday to lower the rising cost of prescription drugs by empowering the federal government to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers.” [New York Times, 12/12/19]
Wall Street Journal: “The House of Representatives passed far-reaching legislation to lower drug prices, bolstering Democrats’ health-care message in the 2020 election campaign.”[Wall Street Journal,12/12/19]
Washington Post: “In a remarkable show of unity, House Democrats passed their own legislation allowing the government to directly negotiate lower prices under Medicare’s prescription drug program.” [Washington Post,12/13/19]
Politico: “The sweeping legislation delivers a long-sought Democratic priority that’s repeatedly run up against opposition from Republicans and powerful drug industry interests.” [Politico,12/12/19]
The Hill: “The measure, which would allow the government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, is one of House Democrats’ top priorities and is expected to be touted by vulnerable Democrats up for reelection next year.” [The Hill, 12/12/19]
Vox: “Democrats’ proposal would mark a major shift in the way prescription drug prices are set in the US, by empowering the federal government to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients as well as others purchasing the drug.”[Vox, 12/12/19]
Washington Examiner: “The Pelosi bill is meant to signal to voters that Democrats would keep the promises they made to voters to lower drug prices and that they are serious about doing so if voters elect a member of their party to the White House in 2020.” [Washington Examiner, 12/12/19]
Stat: “If the bill were enacted, it would likely represent the biggest pharmaceutical industry overhaul in American history.” [Stat,12/12/19]
The Connecticut Mirror (CT): “The U.S. House on Friday approved an ambitious bill that would dramatically lower the cost of popular drugs, like insulin and other commonly prescribed medications, for Medicare patients and other Americans. All Connecticut House members voted for the bill, and three of them — Reps. John Larson, D-1st District, Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and Jahana Hayes, D-5th District — were original co-sponsors.” [The Connecticut Mirror, 12/13/19]
The Gazette (IA): “Finkenauer was one of 106 co-sponsors of House Resolution 3 — the Lower Drug Costs Now Act — which passed the House on Thursday on a vote of 230-192, with only two Republicans voting for it. It includes provisions to create vision, dental and hearing benefits and caps out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000.” [The Gazette, 12/12/19]
Colorado Politics (CO): “The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services would bargain with pharmaceutical companies over selected drugs…among other drugs not covered by the negotiation, there would also be a new mechanism to control the increase in drug prices, with manufacturers paying a rebate to the federal government if they exceed the rate. That provision stemmed from the Freedom from Price Gouging Act, a piece of legislation that U.S. Rep. Jason Crow introduced separately in October.” [Colorado Politics, 12/12/19]
Alabama Political Reporter (AL): “In Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, there are over 100,000 people enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and over 360,000 enrolled in private health insurance. Sewell said that all of these stand to benefit from H.R. 3. If it passes out of Congress and is signed by the President.” [Alabama Political Reporter, 12/13/19]
Today, the House of Representatives passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), a landmark bill that delivers on the promise Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats made to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. Every Democrat voted for the bill, as well as two Republicans. Coverage of the bill’s passage emphasized the significance of this sweeping legislation that finally gives Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices, the most effective measure to lower costs.
New York Times: House Votes To Give The Government The Power To Negotiate Drug Prices. [New York Times, 12/12/19]
Wall Street Journal: House Passes Bill To Reduce Drug Prices. [Wall Street Journal, 12/12/19]
POLITICO: House Passes Bill Requiring Drug Price Negotiations. [POLITICO,12/12/19]
The Hill: House Passes Sweeping Pelosi Bill To Lower Drug Prices. [The Hill, 12/12/19]
Reuters: Democrat-Led U.S. House Passes Bill To Lower Drug Prices. [Reuters, 12/12/19]
CNBC: House Passes Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Drug Pricing Bill. [CNBC, 12/12/19]
Vox: The House Just Passed An Ambitious Bill To Lower Prescription Drug Prices. [Vox, 12/12/19]
Washington Examiner: House Passes Pelosi Drug Pricing Bill In Bid To Show Democratic Priorities Beyond Impeachment. [Washington Examiner, 12/12/19]
Democrats Were United In Praising H.R. 3, And Called Out Their Republican Colleagues For Voting Against The Bill And Siding With Big Pharma:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12): “BREAKING: House Republicans chose to keep prescription drug prices soaring — siding with big drug corporations and forcing Americans to continue paying astronomical prices. #LowerDrugCosts.” [Nancy Pelosi Twitter, 12/12/19]
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05): “POTUS said he wants to negotiate the cost of Rx drugs, and that is what #HR3 will do — allow Medicare to negotiate & #LowerDrugCosts for those on Medicare & with private insurance. I urge the Senate to take up this bill and send it to the President’s desk for his signature.” [Leader Hoyer Twitter, 12/12/19]
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez: “Democrats are keeping our promises to the American people. Your turn, Mitch. #LowerDrugCosts.” [Chairman Perez Twitter, 12/12/19]
Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal (MA-01): “I am thrilled to see that @HouseDemocrats were able to pass #HR3, the #LowerDrugCosts Now Act to: 1. bring down the cost of prescription drugs, 2. level the playing field for American patients, 3. invest in research for treatment and cures.” [Chairman Neal Twitter, 12/12/19]
Education & Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03): “By passing H.R. 3, @HouseDemocrats are delivering on our promise to provide the American people long-awaited relief from skyrocketing prescription drug costs. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act is a historic achievement on behalf of the American people. #LowerDrugCostsNow.” [Chairman Scott Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03): “The #LowerDrugCostsNow Act JUST PASSED THE HOUSE. New Mexico families shouldn’t have to choose between making ends meet and affording their prescriptions. I was incredibly proud to vote for this transformative legislation that will help keep our communities healthy.” [Rep. Lujan Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03): “Every week, I hear from Iowans about their struggles paying for prescription drugs. Today, I voted to do something about it. #HR3: caps out-of-pocket costs for our seniors, allows Medicare to negotiate prices, cuts red tape thanks to my amendment.” [Rep. Axne Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02): “Today, I proudly voted for the Elijah E. Cummings #LowerDrugCostsNowAct, to lower prescription drug costs for hard working Minnesotans in #MN02.” [Rep. Craig Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01): “The House just passed my amendment to the #LowerDrugCosts Now Act, which ensures vets have access to lower drug prices negotiated by this bill. The hard-earned dollars Americans put towards caring for our vets should be spent on veterans—not on lining the pockets of big pharma.” [Rep. Cunningham Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03): “The Lower Drug Costs Now Act PASSED the House. Proud to join my colleagues in passing this bill to provide real relief for Kansas families at the pharmacy counter. Now it’s time for the Senate to finally stand up to Big Pharma and do the same.” [Rep. Davids Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01): “From roundtables in Dubuque and Waterloo, we have heard about the true cost of high drug prices for families across #IA01. Today, I proudly voted yes on historic reforms that put people over big pharma.” [Rep. Finkenauer Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04): “I just left the House floor where I voted for #HR3 to #LowerDrugCosts! It’s time to: Protect American patients from paying exorbitant prices, Expand Medicare benefits to include dental, vision, & hearing, Encourage investment in research, Put patients over pharma profits!” [Rep. Horsford Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03): “No group of Nevadans relies more on prescription drugs than our seniors. My provision in the historic #LowerDrugCosts Now Act will help seniors on Medicare save money and afford their medication.” [Rep. Lee Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02): “Today, I voted for landmark legislation that would lower prescription drug costs for hundreds of thousands of Coastal Virginians. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act is an overdue bill that will ease the financial burdens of hardworking families while funding groundbreaking research. I urge Senate to make life-saving prescription drugs more affordable for all Americans by passing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.” [Rep. Luria Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-04): “Today, the House passed #HR3 to #LowerDrugCosts and reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses for millions of Americans. The bill expands the services Medicare covers & addresses the skyrocketing cost of prescriptions. Now it’s up to the Senate & @senatemajldr to act. #ForThePeople.” [Rep. McCollum Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01): “Proud to support historic legislation to drive down prescription drug costs for New Hampshire. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take action and pass a bill we can send to the President’s desk for signature. America is counting on us.” [Rep. Pappas Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09): “So, Mitch McConnell, now it’s your move to #LowerDrugCostsNow, @SenateMajLdr. Meanwhile, we’ll keep fighting #ForThePeople to ensure every person has access to affordable medication. #YourMoveMitch.” [Rep. Schakowsky Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07): “Lawmakers beholden to the pharmaceutical lobby have long refused to act on the unbearable drug costs plaguing Americans. Today, I voted to pass #HR3 because I know the hard choices #VA07 residents have to make to be able to afford medications they need.” [Rep. Spanberger Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11): “As part of #HR3, the House just passed my bill to lower drug costs for low-income seniors by improving the Medicare Part D assignment system! The Maximizing Drug Coverage for Low-Income Seniors Act could lead to big cost savings for seniors on Medicare.” [Rep. Stevens Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01): “Nevadans constantly tell me that prescription drug prices are out of control. That’s why I just voted to pass the #LowerDrugCosts Now Act. The nonpartisan @USCBO says it will save taxpayers $500 billion over the next ten years. Senator McConnell should immediately hold a vote.” [Rep. Titus Twitter, 12/12/19]
Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07): “#HR3 JUST PASSED THE HOUSE! People are dying because our system puts profits over their health — we will not let it continue. The #LowerDrugCostsNowAct will bring down the costs of prescriptions and make a true difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians.” [Rep. Wild Twitter, 12/12/19]
Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), historic legislation to drastically reduce Americans’ prescription drug prices by up to 55% and save taxpayers nearly $500 billion over the next 10 years. H.R. 3 includes the most comprehensive drug pricing reform in American history and the largest expansion to Medicare’s vision, dental and hearing benefits in decades. In response to its passage, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:
“With the passage of this historic legislation, House Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi have followed through on their promise to lower prescription drug costs and rein in Big Pharma. By giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices — the single most effective way to lower drug costs — and holding drug companies accountable for creating a rigged system, this landmark bill will lower prescription drug costs for seniors and families nationwide. The American people overwhelmingly support giving Medicare the power to negotiate, and any bill that doesn’t include this policy will not fulfill Congress’ promise to lower costs. Now it’s time for Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to decide if they want to keep defending Big Pharma or put the health and well-being of the American people first.”