Monthly Archives

March 2020

President Trump Should Go Beyond a Photo-Op With Pharma Executives Today and Demand That Any Coronavirus Vaccine Is Affordable for All Americans

Washington, DC — Today, President Trump and his coronavirus task force are meeting with Big Pharma executives at the White House to discuss the ongoing coronavirus threat. This comes after HHS Secretary Alex Azar implied that a coronavirus vaccine would not necessarily be affordable, testifying before a House committee that “We can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest. Price controls won’t get us there.” Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement in response:

“Rather than posing for a photo-op with Pharma executives that he lavished with tax breaks, President Trump should demand that drug companies make any coronavirus vaccine available and affordable to all Americans. American taxpayers are paying for research and development of a coronavirus vaccine, and it is beyond egregious that drug companies — with the president’s help — could even consider trying to pad their pockets at a time when Americans’ health and security matters most.” 

BACKGROUND

HHS Secretary Alex Azar Refused To Commit To Making A Coronavirus Vaccine Affordable: “We Can’t Control That Price.” During his testimony at last week’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Azar claimed he wanted to make a potential vaccine affordable, but said “we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest. The priority is to get vaccines and therapeutics and price controls won’t get us there.” 

President Trump Rewarded Drug Companies With Billions Of Dollars In Tax Breaks While Taxpayers Foot The Bill For Vaccine Research. In his 2017 tax overhaul, Trump rewarded drug companies with billions of dollars in tax breaks yet drug companies have continued to raise prices. Meanwhile, taxpayers are on the hook for funding research and development of new vaccines. According to Public Citizen, since the SARS outbreak, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has already spent nearly $700 million on coronavirus research and development.

BREAKING: Supreme Court Will Decide Fate of Trump-Texas Lawsuit in Upcoming Term

The Court Should End the Threat Created By President Trump and Republicans’ Meritless Lawsuit That Hangs Over Americans’ Health Care 

Washington, DC — Today, the Supreme Court announced it would grant cert in the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. In response to the Court’s decision, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“If President Trump and his allies are successful, 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose protections and 20 million Americans will lose coverage. Every serious legal scholar agrees that this Trump-Republican lawsuit is entirely without merit. Every Republican who claims to care about health care should tell the president to drop this lawsuit.” 

BACKGROUND:

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 Trump lawsuit is successful, 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. 

View the full fact sheet on Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the ACA HERE

If the Affordable Care Act is struck down:

  • GONE: Protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The uninsured rate will increase by 65 percent. 
  • GONE: Medicaid expansion, which covers 17 million people. 
  • GONE: Nearly 12 million seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ will be reopened.
  • GONE: 2.3 million adult children will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance. 
  • GONE: Insurance companies will be able to charge women 50 percent more than men.
  • GONE: Financial assistance that helps 9 million people purchase health care in the marketplace.
  • GONE: Key support for rural hospitals. As Americans lose coverage, already struggling hospitals will be hit even harder as their costs increase.
  • GONE: Ban on insurance companies having lifetime caps on coverage.
  • GONE: Requirements that insurance companies cover prescription drugs and maternity care.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — MARCH, 2, 2020

This is the first of a daily news round up we will share as the story on the coronavirus outbreak unfolds. 

Driving the Day: “a slew of new cases announced over the weekend suggest the virus has spread throughout the country while the U.S. government tested only a narrow subset of the population for it.” [Axios, 3/2/20]

Key Point: We now know that while the administration was failing to provide for adequate testing, the virus was spreading and today we are seeing the consequences.

What to Watch For: The president is meeting with Big Pharma. Will he put peoples’ health above drug company profits and insist that any any vaccine or treatment be affordable for everyone? Secretary Azar last week: “We can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest. Price controls won’t get us there.”

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — 3/2/20

  • Vice President Pence appeared on CNN State of the Union and refused to disavow Donald Trump Jr’s assertion that Democrats are rooting for coronavirus to kill millions of people to hurt Trump. Pence characterized Don Jr’s sentiment as “understandable.” Pence claimed that Democrats have been engaging in irresponsible rhetoric about the outbreak.
  • On Fox News Sunday, Alex Azar said that “there will be no retaliation” against the whistleblower and that nobody who greeted the coronavirus evacuees without protective gear was symptomatic or diagnosed with the disease.
  • A “senior administration official” responded dismissively to a question from CNBC reporter Eamon Javers about what Wall Street traders should know from the White House before the start of the trading week with “Tell them > 30 k fatalities per year domestically b/c of flu. Tell them we are ending war in Afghan. Tell them we were due for market correction.”
  • New cases of the virus were announced in Florida, New York State, Rhode Island and Washington State, where a second elederly victim of the disease has died.
  • The president will meet with drug manufacturers at the White House today and hold a campaign rally in Charlotte, NC. He will visit NIH in Bethesda on Tuesday and is set to visit the CDC in Atlanta on Friday. The vice president and Deborah Birx will hold a briefing at 5:00 PM today.

National Headlines

Axios: Lab for coronavirus test kits may have been contaminated

Bloomberg: CDC Teams Race to Catch Up to Spread of Coronavirus in U.S.

CNN: Two dozen new cases of coronavirus were reported in the US over the weekend

CNN: CDC hasn’t revealed information to doctors that would help coronavirus patients

Kaiser Health News: Nursing Home Outbreak Spotlights Coronavirus Risk In Elder Care Facilities

New York Times: Coronavirus May Have Spread in U.S. for Weeks, Gene Sequencing Suggests

New York Times (Opinion): What the Plague Can Teach Us About the Coronavirus

Politico: U.S. health officials probe coronavirus test problems at CDC

Politico: Pence warns that more coronavirus cases are coming

Politico: Alex Azar: War powers on the table to increase medical supplies

Politico: The glaring loophole in U.S. virus response: Human error

Reuters: Trump vows to screen travellers after first American dies of coronavirus

Talking Points Memo: Pence Says Claim That Dems Are Politicizing Coronavirus Is ‘Justified’

In The States

Associated Press: Two people in Tampa Bay area test ‘presumptively positive’ for Coronavirus

Wall Street Journal: First Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in New York State

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Spreads in U.S., as Rhode Island Confirms State’s First Case

KXAN: San Antonio Mayor: CDC released patient who later tested positive for COVID-19

USA Today: Scientist: Hundreds may already be infected by coronavirus in Washington state alone

CNN: 8 people test positive for coronavirus in Washington state. A possible nursing home outbreak is investigated

New York Times: Nursing Home is a Focus as Signs Grow of Coronavirus’s Spread in U.S.

KIRO: Second man in King County with coronavirus dies

Economic Impact

CNBC: Dow futures drop 300 points after volatile overnight session as market struggles to rebound

New York Times: Avoiding Coronavirus May Be a Luxury Some Workers Can’t Afford

Reuters: U.S. officials talk down coronavirus market panic, tout economic strength

USA Today: Nervous about buying a plane ticket? American waiving change fees amid coronavirus crisis

Trump Tweets