Monthly Archives

May 2020

HEADLINES: America’s Seniors Are Turning on Trump Over His Botched Coronavirus Response and Failure to Keep Them Safe During the Crisis

Older Americans have suffered for years under President Trump’s health care agenda and his disastrous coronavirus response effort has put them at grave risk during this public health crisis. Four out of five coronavirus deaths have been Americans over 65. From the start President Trump has downplayed the coronavirus crisis, refused to listen to experts and failed to provide adequate testing and personal protective equipment, resulting in the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of older Americans. As news reports made clear this week, Trump’s failure of leadership on coronavirus is hurting him with this critical block of voters, and will undoubtedly continue to do so.

NBC News: Trump Finds Himself Playing Campaign Defense With Core Elements Of His Base. “Trump’s weakening appeal with seniors following his response to the coronavirus is hurting him particularly hard in Florida, where 21 percent of voters are 65 and older. In 2016, Trump won the senior vote in the state by 17 points over Hillary Clinton, but he leads Biden among that group by just 4 points, according to a Florida Atlantic University poll this month. In a separate survey, Biden held a 10-point lead over Trump among seniors, according to an April poll of Floridians by Quinnipiac University.” [NBC News, 5/27/20

Philadelphia Inquirer: Some Pa. Seniors Are Turning On Trump. That Could Be A Problem For His Reelection. “Trump, who needs to win states like Pennsylvania and hopes to hold onto supporters like Banion, may have a lurking problem. National polling averages show he’s in a relative dead heat with Joe Biden among voters over 65, a group he won by 10 points in 2016. In recent polling of Pennsylvania voters, Trump comes up a few points short of Biden with voters over 45, according to an April Fox poll.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/26/20

  • Chris Borick, Pollster At Muhlenberg College In Allentown, Said “Seniors Have Felt The Wrath Of This Pandemic More Than Any Other Age Cohort.” “‘Seniors have felt the wrath of this pandemic more than any other age cohort’ said Chris Borick, a pollster at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. ‘By numbers and health effects, it’s been devastating. The concern levels we’ve seen, when we’ve polled, are highest among seniors, and that, of course, could be bleeding into their appraisal of the president.’” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/26/20

Washington Post: In Crucial Florida, Some Senior Voters Cast A Skeptical Eye Toward Trump’s Reelection. “Yet for months, Biden has been more popular than Trump with seniors. A national poll of registered voters released by Quinnipiac University last week shows Biden leading by 10 points among voters over 65. A Quinnipiac poll in late April found 52 percent of Florida seniors supporting Biden to 42 percent for Trump, while a Fox News poll around the same time found Biden narrowly ahead.” [Washington Post, 5/25/20

  • “The Skepticism Toward The President Among Some Seniors Comes As Their Lives Have Been Drastically Altered By The Coronavirus, Which Has Swept Through Nursing Homes And Retirement Communities Across The County.” “The skepticism toward the president among some seniors comes as their lives have been drastically altered by the coronavirus, which has swept through nursing homes and retirement communities across the country. In Florida, more than 80 percent of the 2,000-plus people killed by the virus have been over age 65, according to an analysis by the Tampa Bay Times.” [Washington Post, 5/25/20]

Washington Post (Opinion): Trump’s Poor Handling Of The Crisis May Lose Him The GOP’s Most Reliable Voters. “With President Trump’s inept and erratic handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, he is rapidly losing support among the age group most vulnerable to its ravages — which is a big warning sign to Republicans as they look to the fall. Trump has also been showing slippage in support among the next-oldest cohort, those 55 and older. The shift has been showing up in a string of recent polls, reportedly including those that have been conducted by Trump’s own campaign.” [Washington Post, 5/25/20

Washington Post (Opinion): America’s Seniors, Sacrificed On The Altar Of Reopening. “Back in March, three-fifths of those 65 and over approved of the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Now a majority of that age group disapprove. Poll after poll has shown Trump in the past two months losing his lead among 65-and-over voters, a crucial demographic for Republicans, both nationally and in battleground states. The political handicapping site FiveThirtyEight observes that Trump won voters 65 and older by 13.3 percentage points in 2016. At the moment, Trump trails Biden by 1.0 points among such voters in an average of national polls — an enormous swing.” [Washington Post, 5/22/20

New York Times: Anxious About the Virus, Older Voters Grow More Wary of Trump. “For years, Republicans and Mr. Trump have relied on older Americans, the country’s largest voting bloc, to offset a huge advantage Democrats enjoy with younger voters. In critical states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, all of which have large older populations, Mr. Trump’s advantage with older voters has been essential to his political success; in 2016, he won voters over the age of 65 by seven percentage points, according to national exit poll data.But seniors are also the most vulnerable to the global pandemic, and the campaign’s internal polls, people familiar with the numbers said, show Mr. Trump’s support among voters over the age of 65 softening to a concerning degree, as he pushes to reopen the country’s economy at the expense of stopping a virus that puts them at the greatest risk.” [New York Times, 5/19/20

  • New York Times: By Rejecting To Open A Special Enrollment Period, The Trump Administration “Has Also Hampered Some Of Its Own Efforts To Appeal To Older Voters.” “But the administration has also hampered some of its own efforts to appeal to older voters. Mr. Trump recently rejected an expanded enrollment period for the newly uninsured, for instance.” [New York Times, 5/19/20

Al Jazeera: In Key Us State Of Florida, Trump Stumbles Among Senior Voters. ”Trump has virtually no path to victory without winning Florida, and older voters are key to that effort. Older voters make up an outsize share of the voting population in the state, where Trump defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by just over 1 percentage point in 2016. Trump carried voters 65 and older in the state by 9 percentage points, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Some Republicans warn that could be tough for Trump to repeat as the public health and economic fallout of the pandemic deepens.” [Al Jazaeera, 5/15/20

The Hill (Opinion): Seniors Will Make Donald Trump A One-Term President. “Despite being a ‘senior citizen’ himself, many Americans in the president’s age group have recently soured on him, especially in light of his administration’s response to COVID-19. Back in mid-March, Americans over 65 years old ‘approved of Trump’s handling of the outbreak at a higher rate than any other age group,; according to Morning Consult. Just a month later, that specific COVID-19 response approval rating dropped 20 points and is now lower than any other age group, except for 18 to 29-year-olds. By a 6-to-1 margin in that same survey, older Americans say that government should prioritize the coronavirus health response and mitigation of the virus above the economic focus.” [The Hill, 5/26/20

Senator Bob Casey, Protect Our Care and the Alliance for Retired Americans Discuss New Report On How Trump’s War On Health Care Has Exacerbated the Coronavirus Crisis for Seniors

Read the “Seniors At Risk” Report Here

Washington, DC — On a press call this morning, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), the Alliance for Retired Americans and Protect Our Care discussed how President Trump’s health care sabotage agenda and leadership failures are especially harmful to seniors facing the coronavirus pandemic. The call addressed the new “Seniors At Risk” report released by Protect Our Care and the Alliance for Retired Americans today on how American seniors stand to lose in Trump’s war on health care, especially in his lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act that would devastate older Americans during this crisis.

This week Protect Our Care launched the “Seniors At Risk” campaign, beginning with the release of a new digital ad informing seniors, their children and grandchildren how President Trump is downplaying the coronavirus crisis, refusing to listen to experts, and failing to provide adequate testing, resulting in the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of America’s seniors.

Protect Our Care will continue its “Seniors At Risk” campaign with a series of state specific reports, state press calls with local elected officials, health care advocates and allied organizations, and additional digital ads.

Call Audio Available Here

“As we struggle to break free from the grips of the worst public health crisis our Nation has seen in a century, older Americans have been left as an afterthought by the Trump Administration,” said Senator Casey. “Protect Our Care and the Alliance for Retired Americans have released a report that details more than 20 million new Americans who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic are eligible for coverage through the ACA Marketplace. During this pandemic, more than ever, Americans need access to affordable health care. This Administration must drop their lawsuit against the ACA and stop its efforts to undermine the health and safety of seniors and their families especially during this pandemic.”

“From day one, President Trump has put the retirement security and health of older Americans at unnecessary risk. In just the last three months, COVID-19 has killed tens of thousands of older Americans. The president’s botched response shows a callous indifference toward the lives of seniors,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Rather than rallying the nation and marshaling the full resources of the federal government to fight this national emergency, he’s even used the pandemic as a pretense to gut Social Security by eliminating its dedicated funding. What have America’s seniors done to deserve this?”

“Two and a half years ago, I was fortunate to receive a lung transplant that saved my life,” said Gary Mitchell, a lung transplant survivor and President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans. “Now my life and the lives of millions of older Americans are at risk from the coronavirus. President Trump’s failure to take this health crisis seriously has made a terrible situation worse, and thousands of seniors have died because of it.”

“President Trump’s failure to prepare us for the coronavirus crisis and his all-out war on health care has shown his complete disregard for the health and safety of older Americans,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Eighty percent of all coronavirus deaths have been over the age of 65 and many seniors have died unnecessarily and alone. If President Trump truly cared about the livelihoods of American seniors, he wouldn’t be trying to rip apart our health care system and gut critical programs like Medicare and Medicaid that are essential for older Americans to receive life-saving treatment and care.”

NEW CAMPAIGN: Seniors At Risk: How Trump’s Failure to Keep America Safe from Coronavirus and His Ongoing War On Health Care Has Sentenced Thousands of Older Americans to an Early Death

Protect Our Care Launches Campaign With New Digital Ad; Will Also Include National and State Specific Reports and State Press Events

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is launching the “Seniors At Risk” campaign, a new, targeted effort to bring attention to how Trump’s war on health care is putting seniors’ lives in danger during the coronavirus crisis. The campaign begins with the launch of a new digital ad informing seniors, their children and grandchildren how President Trump is downplaying the coronavirus crisis, refusing to listen to experts, and failing to provide adequate testing that has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of America’s seniors. POC is also releasing a new national report in the coming days highlighting the dramatic impact of the virus on nursing homes and older Americans — 4 out of 5 coronavirus deaths have been Americans over 65. 

The campaign also highlights how the Trump administration’s ongoing sabotage of seniors’ health care is especially dangerous as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Specifically, the campaign focuses on the Trump administration’s proposals for draconian cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and their Texas lawsuit that would overturn the ACA and increase drug costs and insurance premiums and gut protections for pre-existing conditions. 

Over the course of the “Seniors At Risk” campaign, Protect Our Care will also issue a series of state specific reports, hold state press calls with local elected officials, health care advocates and organizations, and release additional digital ads.

View the Launch Video

“President Trump’s disastrous coronavirus response and years-long war on health care has put older Americans squarely in the crosshairs of this deadly pandemic,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Eighty percent of all deaths have been over the age of 65 and many have died unnecessarily and alone. Americans have lost their parents and grandparents. President Trump’s failure to prepare us for this crisis, and his ongoing war on health care has shown just how little this administration cares about the health and safety of older Americans. If President Trump truly cared about our seniors, he wouldn’t be trying to rip apart our health care system and gut critical programs like Medicare and Medicaid that are essential for older Americans to receive life-saving treatment and care.”

Ad Script:

In this pandemic, America’s seniors are in danger.

Why? Because President Trump failed to prepare America for this crisis.

While he was downplaying the threat, calling it a hoax, older Americans were among the first to die.

4 out of 5 Coronavirus deaths have been Americans over 65.

And more than one third of all U.S. coronavirus deaths have been in nursing homes.

Many dying alone.

And while the virus continues to put seniors at risk, President Trump insists “we have prevailed.”

Ignoring the experts, rushing to reopen the economy, threatening our most vulnerable.

Older Americans, our parents and our grandparents, at grave risk. 

Tell President Trump: Stop putting seniors at risk.

President Trump’s Trip to Michigan? He Should Have Stayed Home

Yesterday, President Trump visited a Ford manufacturing plant to try to salvage his support from Michigan voters. Instead, by refusing to wear a mask, Trump once again showed Michiganders and people across the country he is not taking the pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans seriously. 

Before his visit, Protect Our Care held a press call to discuss President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis in Michigan and how his failures have placed Michiganders’ health and safety at risk ahead of his visit to the state. Protect Our Care also unveiled a new survey conducted with Public Policy Polling in Michigan that finds voters in Michigan disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, trust Governor Whitmer far more, oppose relaxing social distancing and believe Trump deserves blame for the rising death toll and job loss as a result of his botched response. 

Here is what Michiganders saw and read about Trump’s visit:

MLive: Trump Visits Michigan Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Historic Flooding And Economic Downturn. [MLive, 5/21/20

Detroit Free Press: Michigan Health Care Workers: Trump Wants Economy To Reopen — But We’re Not Ready. [Detroit Free Press, 5/21/20

Dearborn Press & Guide: Hammoud, Protect Our Care Blast Trump On Covid-19 Policy Ahead Of Visit To Michigan. [Dearborn Press & Guide, 5/21/20

Detroit Free Press: Nessel Calls Trump ‘Petulant Child,’ Says He Would Not Be Welcomed Back To Michigan. [Detroit Free Press, 5/21/20

Washington Post: Trump Skips A Mask In Public During Tour Of Michigan Auto Plant That Requires Them. [Washington Post, 5/21/20]

Reuters: Trump Visits Ford Plant In Politically Crucial Michigan, Leaves Mask Off For Cameras. [Reuters, 5/21/20

Associated Press: Pandemic Politics: Maskless Trump Tours Michigan Ford Plant. [Associated Press, 5/22/20

CNN: Michigan AG: Trump Was ‘Incredibly Disrespectful’ To Our State. [CNN, 5/21/20

Washington Post: Ahead Of President’s Visit, Michigan Town Battles Racial Disparities In Coronavirus Deaths. [Washington Post, 5/20/20

U.S. News & World Report: Trump Trails Biden in New Michigan Poll. [U.S. News & World Report, 5/21/20

Senators Shaheen, Smith Alongside Committee Leaders Senators Wyden, Murray Unveil Proposal in Response to Coronavirus Crisis to Improve and Expand Health Coverage and Combat Trump’s Sabotage

Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN) alongside Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) unveiled a new proposal to improve and expand access to health care for Americans in response to the coronavirus crisis. Their proposal includes much needed action to expand premium tax credits and financial assistance for families impacted by the crisis, open a special enrollment period, restore funding for outreach, further expand Medicaid, strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions and crack down on junk insurance plans that don’t cover these protections. In response to their proposal, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“There has never been a more important time to ensure Americans have access to quality and affordable health care and the proposal unveiled by Senators Shaheen and Smith along with Senators Wyden and Murray makes it clear Senate Democrats understand those critical health care needs. Their plan is in stark contrast to the ongoing efforts by President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress to rip health care away from 20 million Americans and protections for 135 million with pre-existing conditions. Incentivizing holdout states to expand Medicaid, opening a special enrollment period for the uninsured, and making health insurance more affordable are common sense solutions to helping Americans get quality, affordable care. President Trump and Republicans in Congress need to stop pushing junk insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions and drop their Texas lawsuit to terminate the ACA that would rip coverage away from 20 million Americans in the middle of the crisis.” 

Polling: Trump’s Approval on Health Care Sinks to Record Low as Americans Reject His Leadership and Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 100K

Trump’s Approval On Health Care Has Fallen 15 Points Since March 23 

New polling from Navigator Research today confirms that Americans are rejecting Trump’s leadership in record numbers when it comes to health care during the coronavirus crisis. Millions of Americans have lost their health care since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, the president plows forward with his lawsuit that would terminate the ACA and strip coverage from 20 million more Americans. As we head into a Memorial Day Weekend where we are nearing 100,000 deaths, it’s evident that Americans are seeing through Trump’s empty rhetoric which has served as a thin veil for his disastrous response effort that has gotten us to this point. 

From Navigator Research

Protect Our Care and Michigan Medical Experts Call Out President Trump’s Disastrous Handling of Coronavirus Crisis and Discuss New Polling Ahead of His Visit to Michigan

View the Survey Results

Washington, DC — On a press call today, Protect Our Care and Public Policy Polling along with Michigan State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn, MI) and Dr. Rob Davidson discussed President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis in Michigan and how his failures have placed Michiganders’ health and safety at risk ahead of his visit to the state. Protect Our Care also unveil a new survey conducted with Public Policy Polling in Michigan that finds voters in Michigan disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, trust Governor Whitmer far more, oppose relaxing social distancing and believe Trump deserves blame for the rising death toll and job loss as a result of his botched response. 

Call Audio Available Here

Key survey findings: 

  • Governor Whitmer’s net approval rating for her handling of the virus is 26 points better than Trump’s. Whitmer has a +17 approval for it at 55/38, while Trump gets a -9 rating with only 42% approving and 51% disapproving of the job he’s doing handling the virus.
  • On the head to head question of who voters trust more to protect Michigan from the coronavirus, Whitmer beats out Trump 55-37, including a 56-32 spread with independents.
  • By a 10-point margin, voters do not think President Trump is doing enough to protect America from the coronavirus – 42% of voters think he’s doing enough, while 52% do not.
  • Only 26% of voters think social distancing measures should be relaxed, with 66% believing that the current policies are correct, including 68% of independent voters.
  • Voters say they would choose safety over speed when it comes to reopening the economy. When asked to choose between reopening the economy more quickly, or more safely, just 30% say they would choose to reopen the economy more quickly, while 65% say they would choose to reopen the economy more safely, including 66% of independent voters. 
  • 60% of voters say that President Trump and his administration deserve a great deal or at least some responsibility for both the number of Americans who have died and the number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus. 
  • Trump’s overall approval rating in the state is 44/51, and he trails Joe Biden 51-45 in a head to head match up. 

“During this crisis, the real leadership has been coming from Governor Gretchen Whitmer. It’s evident Trump is much more concerned with campaigning than ensuring Americans are protected and have the resources they need to get through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud. “Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, he continues to do everything possible to undermine the Affordable Care Act and limit access to the quality, affordable health care it provides.”

“Doctors don’t need polls to tell us what we know to be true: President Trump has failed all of us,” said Dr. Rob Davidson. “President Trump called health care workers warriors running into death like soldiers running into bullets on the battlefield. Well, we don’t want to be warriors battling against this virus, and if he thinks we are his warriors, he needs to give us the armor we need to make sure we are not unnecessarily dying in his war. Give us the PPE we need, give us the tests we need so we can effectively manage this virus and get America open safely again.”

“Poll after poll shows that voters in Michigan and across the country have lost trust in Donald Trump’s ability to lead them through this crisis,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Americans want clear and consistent leadership to keep them safe, but this president continues to put people in danger by downplaying the need for testing, ignoring the advice of experts and trying to rip health care from millions of Americans when they need it most. Americans overwhelmingly support continuing social distancing and they don’t trust his efforts to rush the reopening of the economy without proper safety measures in place. It’s no wonder voters in Michigan reject Trump’s leadership and blame the rising death toll and unemployment on his systematic failure to get America through this crisis.” 

“The results of the poll clearly show that Michigan voters are much more on board with Governor Whitmer’s approach to the virus than Donald Trump’s,” said Jim Williams with Public Policy Polling. “As a consequence, we see Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in Michigan.”

Trump Goes After Pre-Existing Conditions Again By Doubling Down on Junk Insurance Plans in the Debate on the Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

Washington, DC Yesterday, the White House sent an email reaffirming their support for junk insurance plans by opposing a provision in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act that clamps down on the promotion of these deceitful plans that don’t cover protections for pre-existing conditions. This is yet another effort by President Trump, including his lawsuit to terminate the ACA, to rip protections from 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. His support for these plans is even more egregious in the face of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused millions of Americans to lose their health care. These newly uninsured families could be duped into buying junk plans only to end up paying crippling costs for treatment if they catch the virus. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“It’s shameful that the White House is standing by their promotion of junk insurance plans that don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions at a time when people’s health and safety is so important. The president’s ongoing efforts to rip protections away from the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and his refusal to allow the uninsured to use the Affordable Care Act to purchase affordable health insurance when they need it the most, shows his complete disregard for Americans’ health during this crisis. Everyone who contracts the coronavirus could now have a pre-existing condition and the Trump administration wants them to be at the mercy of insurance companies who could refuse to pay for their future care. If this president was serious about protecting Americans during this crisis, he wouldn’t be promoting these disastrous junk insurance plans that don’t fully protect people with pre-existing conditions.”

BACKGROUND:

On May 14, The White House Sent An Email Attacking The HEROES Act Provision Banning The Promotion Of Junk Plans That Do Not Cover Pre-Existing Conditions. “A BAN on information about low-cost health insurance. That’s right—House Democrats want to forbid the government from sharing any information with you about lower-cost health options such as association plans or short-term plans. Even as families try to cope with job and wage losses, Speaker Pelosi doesn’t want them to learn about options that are up to 60 percent cheaper than Obamacare.” [White House Email, 5/14/20] 

THIS WEEK: Protect Our Care Hosts Press Calls with Leader Schumer, Democratic AGs and Elected Officials Nationwide to Discuss Amicus Briefs Filed Against Trump-Republican Lawsuit to Terminate Health Care

Lawsuit Decried as “Cruel, Economically Stupid and Dangerous”

This week, Protect Our Care hosted press calls and digital events across the country with elected officials to bring attention to the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and discuss the briefs from Senate Democrats and other groups filed Wednesday in the Supreme Court. During press events with attorneys general and elected officials in Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, Democratic leaders described the damage of this lawsuit which if successful would rip health care from 20 million Americans and throw the health care system into complete chaos as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Protect Our Care also hosted a national press call Wednesday with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School Andy Pincus, who made clear the devastation that would ensue if health care is ripped away from 20 million Americans as well as protections for 135 million with pre-existing conditions at a time when ensuring people’s health has never been more important.

POC also hosted a call on Tuesday with Senator Chris Murphy and Little Lobbyists to discuss the real-life human impacts of the lawsuit.

A look at Protect Our Care’s activity this week: 

NATIONAL PRESS CALLS

Wednesday, May 13 – Press Call with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School Andy Pincus 

“Now more than ever, Americans need the Affordable Care Act. And yet, in the middle of this public health and economic emergency, the Trump administration is dedicating time and resources to eliminating health care coverage and pre-existing condition protections for millions of Americans,” said Leader Chuck Schumer. “But Senate Democrats won’t give up this fight. We are calling on the highest court of the land to affirm the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and protect Americans’ care. The facts and the law are indisputably on our side.”

“Taking away health care from millions of Americans in the midst of a pandemic is cruel, economically stupid and dangerous,” said former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Despite this lawsuit — and innumerable other efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act — the ACA is working to make health care more widely accessible and affordable. We should be working to strengthen it, not undermine it.”

“The nearly three dozen amicus briefs that will be filed today, together with the briefs filed last week by the House of Representatives and California and the other intervening states, demonstrate that there simply are no credible legal grounds for the argument by Texas and the Trump administration,” said Andy Pincus, Partner at Mayer Brown and Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. “These briefs also make clear the huge stakes of this case: everyone with a role in the health care system – from patient groups to health care providers to hospitals – is filing in support of the ACA. They all recognize the catastrophic consequences that would result from invalidating the ACA—and especially from doing so while the nation is fighting a pandemic.”

Listen to the call here.

Tuesday, May 12 – Press Call with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

“Because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we are approaching a 20% unemployment rate, meaning more and more Americans are finding themselves reliant on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid in order to get themselves and their family insurance,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “And so, the number of people who are now at risk of losing their health insurance, if President Trump lawsuit is successful, is not just 20 million. It might be 25 million, or 30 million, or 35 million. The stakes are just hard to get your head wrapped around. So it makes no sense that this administration is pursuing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. But it makes even less sense that the administration is continuing to pursue this dangerous repeal effort in the middle of a pandemic.”

Listen to the call here.

STATE PRESS CALLS 

COLORADO

Monday, May 11 – Digital Roundtable with State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, Health Care Providers and Advocates

“I got to see what life was like before the ACA and how life has improved for my patients since the passing of the ACA,” said State Representative and pediatrician Yadira Caraveo. “Before the ACA was passed, we worried about labeling patients as having pre-existing conditions. Pediatric patients don’t have too many chronic diseases, but asthma is one of them. We used to get very creative when it came to wording for kids with wheezing or coughs, to try not to say asthma on their charts, because we knew that would affect them all the way down the line in getting insurance. If people lose access to preventive and primary care due to the elimination of the ACA… then we stand to see an increase in all sorts of illnesses down the line.”

Watch the roundtable here.

MAINE

Wednesday, May 13 – Bangor Daily News Op-Ed by State Rep. Thom Hartnett

“The Trump administration is making a tired, partisan, and nearly decade-long argument that, in the middle of a national crisis, would threaten the lives of even more innocent people. Republicans should drop this lawsuit and focus on protecting Mainers and all Americans when they need it the most,” said State Rep. Thom Hartnett. “Will COVID-19 be the newest pre-existing condition to be excluded from health insurance protection? We need the ACA now more than ever. The Trump administration’s relentless pursuit to hobble it is shameful.”

Read the full Bangor Daily News op-ed here.

MICHIGAN

Monday, May 11 – Oakland Press Op-Ed by David Woodward, Chairman of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners

“Eliminating the ACA would devastate the lives of Michiganders, including 73,000 Michigan young adults and 527,600 children in Michigan who would lose access to health care,” said Chairman David Woodward. “This week’s activities mark the beginning of a critical phase in the fight to protect Americans as our nation continues to grapple with this current unprecedented public health disaster. Trump and his allies will make absurd arguments to justify ripping health care from 20 million throughout these proceedings, while the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic continues.”

Read the full Oakland Press op-ed here.

MINNESOTA

Wednesday, May 13 – Press Call with MN AG Keith Ellison and Former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt

“The bottom line is that this lawsuit shows just how out of touch this administration is with the needs of Americans all over this country, regardless of geography or political persuasion,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. “At the end of the day, in a country as wealthy and endowed with expertise and health care infrastructure such as ours is, no one should be worried about going bankrupt because they got sick. Yet, that is exactly what the door will be opened to if we cannot protect the Affordable Care Act.” 

“If this lawsuit prevails, and the Affordable Care Act is eliminated, it would be a complete disaster. The fact is that 2.4 million Minnesotans could be discriminated against and no longer be able to get health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition,” said former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt. “This will hurt the communities who need health care the most.”

Listen to the press call here.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Wednesday, May 13 – Digital Roundtable with Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02)

“It’s unconscionable that President Trump and Congressional Republicans continue fighting in court to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, even as we are in the midst of combating a once in a lifetime pandemic with COVID-19,” said Rep. Annie Kuster. “More than 52 million Americans and 200,000 Granite Staters live with pre-existing conditions here in New Hampshire and every single day they’re threatened by the attacks of this administration on the Affordable Care Act.” 

Watch the roundtable here.

WISCONSIN

Thursday, May 14 – Digital Press Conference with WI AG Josh Kaul 

“This is a time when we need to make sure that if people need access to healthcare they are able to get it,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Kaul. “We need to make sure we are protecting people’s financial security. The Affordable Care Act does both of those things. Attacking [the law] in any case is a mistake, but attacking it in the middle of a pandemic is just horrible policy. We need to do what we can to keep the Affordable Care Act in place and that’s why we joined this amicus brief. I think it’s critical we keep these protections in place.”

Watch the press conference here.

Pennsylvania Seniors Bear the Brunt of Trump’s Disastrous Coronavirus Response

Washington, DC — Today, President Trump is touring a medical equipment distribution center in Allentown, Pennsylvania where he will undoubtedly lie about his own administration’s disastrous response effort, which has severely impacted senior populations in Pennsylvania and across the country. Trump’s failure to provide adequate testing and PPE for nursing homes has put America’s seniors, who were already at higher risk to the coronavirus, in even greater danger. To make matters worse, Trump’s war on health care has also been devastating to seniors, and they now face even greater risks as the country faces a once-in-a-lifetime health care crisis while the president seeks to strip health care from 20 million Americans. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“America’s senior populations and nursing homes have been devastated by the coronavirus crisis and bore the brunt of President Trump’s disastrous response that’s failed to keep them safe. President Trump’s actions to sabotage Americans’ health care including his lawsuit to overturn our health care law and desire to gut Medicaid and Medicare will have far reaching consequences for Pennsylvania’s seniors who rely on the law and on these programs especially during this crisis. If the president was serious about taking steps to helping seniors through this crisis he would stop trying to tear apart our health care system and instead aggressively ramp up testing and production of protective equipment so that seniors in Pennsylvania and across the country are able to protect themselves from this deadly virus.” 

BACKGROUND:

Seniors And Older Adults Face Higher Risks In The Coronavirus Pandemic

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the groups “at high-risk for severe illness from Covid-19” are people 65 years and older and individuals who live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 
  • More than 80,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, with nearly 80 percent of deaths among those over the age of 65. 
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country have experienced a surge in outbreaks, with about one third of U.S. deaths associated with these facilities. 
  • Coronavirus is also a threat to millions of seniors and older adults who live outside of institutions and may be exposed through work, family members, or caregivers. 
  • Roughly 47 million older adults nationwide are aging in place. More than seven million seniors, or 15 percent of the 65-and-older population residing outside of nursing homes, are considered medically frail. And 60 percent of this group have at least two chronic conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, which are serious risk factors for developing coronavirus complications. According to the Center for American Progress, nearly 32 million people age 55-64 have pre-existing conditions. 
  • Seniors residing in rural areas face additional risks. More than 7 million people age 60 and up reside in counties without intensive care beds. Additionally, 2.7 million in this group live in counties without any hospitals at all. Seniors, both those residing in nursing homes and at home, are facing additional challenges during this crisis, including isolation, food insecurity, and limited health care access. 

Trump’s Health Care Sabotage Agenda Particularly Is Harmful to Seniors

  • President Trump’s attacks on American health care have had devastating consequences for older adults. The Trump administration has worked tirelessly to undermine the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare even as millions of seniors and older adults rely on these programs for coverage. 
  • Trump has also broken his campaign promise to let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices, despite overwhelming support from the American people.
  • Trump’s war on health care has only exacerbated the coronavirus crisis. Comprehensive and affordable coverage is essential to ensuring that individuals with coronavirus symptoms receive the lifesaving care they need.
  • Low-income individuals are especially at risk of being exposed to the virus, as they are often service workers deemed essential and are unable to practice social distancing, but they are less likely to be insured and therefore may delay necessary care. 
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation that 2 million uninsured patients could be hospitalized due to the virus, threatening to leave them with tens of thousands in medical bills. 

Seniors Stand To Lose If The ACA Is Overturned. If The ACA Is Struck Down In Court

  • People Over The Age of 50 Will Face A $4,000 “Age Tax.” Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, insurance companies can charge people over 50 more than younger people. The Affordable Care Act limited the amount older people could be charged to three times more than younger people. If insurers were to charge five times more, as was proposed in the Republican repeal bills, that would add an average “age tax” of $4,124 for a 60-year-old in the individual market, according to the AARP.
  • 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 got 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.
  • Seniors Will No Longer Be Guaranteed Free Preventive Services And Annual Check-Ups. 60 million people with Medicare have access to free preventive services because of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Seniors Could Once Again See Less Coordinated Care. Provisions in the ACA encouraged groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers to come together to provide coordinated high-quality care to the Medicare patients they serve. In fact, 8.9 million Medicare beneficiaries are now benefiting from higher quality, more coordinated care. 

Trump’s Coronavirus Response Has Made Pennsylvania Less Safe

  • The Trump Administration Failed To Secure Testing. After the Trump administration decided not to use tests adopted by the World Health Organization, the CDC experienced errors and delays with their own tests. The lack of tests meant public health officials could not use surveillance testing to monitor the virus’ spread. On March 30, 2020, Trump claimed that he had not “heard about testing being a problem” in weeks, despite multiple state and local officials ringing the alarm about a lack of testing on a daily basis. 
  • Trump Refused To Authorize The Defense Production Act Until It Was Too Late. Trump waited until hospitals were already experiencing severe shortages of life-saving equipment to invoke the Defense Production Act. Had Trump acted two months ago, experts and Ford’s own timeline agree that critical supplies would already be in production. Because Trump delayed acting, necessary equipment is unlikely before June. 
  • Trump Cut Key Positions To Help Pandemic Prevention Efforts. In 2018, the Trump administration dismantled the entire global health security unit at the National Security Council, reassigning its leader, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, a long-time public health official who had served under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Additionally, Tom Bossert, another key official for infectious disease preparedness and biodefense strategy, left that same year. No one has since filled these positions. In 2017, the Washington Post reported that Trump had “failed to fill crucial public health positions across the government, leaving the nation ill-prepared” for a global pandemic. Trump tried to cut the global health section of the CDC, laying off staff and closing 80% of epidemic prevention activities that were designed to combat public health crises like this one. Trump also eliminated a key CDC position focused on detecting disease outbreaks in China and cut the staff at the Beijing office of the CDC by two thirds.
  • Trump Has Repeatedly Ignored Experts And Spread Misinformation About The Outbreak. Dating back to January, Trump ignored warnings about the crisis and sought to downplay the crisis. He falsely claimed the virus would disappear by April, and repeatedly said the USA was in “very good shape” in hopes of calming the markets. In February, Donald Trump cut HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s budget request to buy respirator masks and other supplies for the national stockpile by 75 percent. Now a mask shortage is forcing health care workers in Pennsylvania to go without critical protective equipment.
  • Trump’s Order For All Nursing Home Residents And Staff To Be Tested Is Too Little, Too Late. In May, the Trump administration finally ordered that all nursing home residents and staff be tested for coronavirus, however the order remains toothless as the federal government has declined to provide resources or funding for these critical tests. Advocates and industry executives say that in many states, universal testing isn’t feasible without the federal government providing the money or means to do it.